PCC’s Pickin’ by the Lake bluegrass festival to be held Sept. 7
Piedmont Community College’s Alumni Partnership will present its Pickin’ by the Lake bluegrass festival on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 1-9 p.m. at the Mayo Park Amphitheater. The event, the first sponsored by PCC’s Alumni Partnership, will support PCC in funding student scholarships, college programs, and other student projects.
“The decision to hold a bluegrass festival initially came from the PCC Alumni Cabinet’s annual planning session,” said Patti Clayton, Coordinator, PCC Alumni Partnership. “The Alumni Cabinet wanted to host a signature event to make the Partnership more visible in the community. Since bluegrass music is such a huge part of the culture in this area, we thought it would be a good way to attract many people. Plus it’s a great way for PCC Alumni to give back to the community.”
The festival will feature four bluegrass groups: Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion, the Hager’s Mountain Boys, Tyler Jackson and Drive Tyme, and Victoria Lee and New Ground. Each group will perform twice, with a different group starting off each hour starting with Victoria Lee and New Ground at 1 p.m. and proceeding through the list above in reverse order.
The performers provide a good mix of seasoned bluegrass musicians and newer groups featuring performers in their teens. Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion was founded by Batten and David Turnage in 1973, making it the longest-established group in the festival. At age 15, Victoria Lee who performs with New Ground, is one of the youngest performers in the festival.
Pickin’ by the Lake will also be a bittersweet time for one of the groups. Mike Johnson of the Hager’s Mountain Boys has announced that this festival will be the last performance for this popular local group whose members have been playing together since 2006.
Admission to the event is $10 for adults; children under age 12 get in free. “At $10, this event is quite a bargain,” said Buddy Michaels, who will serve as master of ceremonies. Michaels is a long-time radio personality and hosts a weekly bluegrass music show on Radio Roxboro. Tickets are available in advance at PCC, Ronnie’s Appliance, Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce, and Country Club Convenience. They also will be available at the door the day of the event.
In true festival fashion, the event will feature festival seating at Mayo Park’s amphitheater. Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. The festival will be held rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, the event will move into the community building adjacent to the amphitheater.
Concessions by Country Club Convenience Catering will be available and will include barbeque sandwiches, hot dogs, and soft drinks.
For more information, go to www.piedmontcc.edu/pickin or contact Patti Clayton at (336) 322-2105.
About the performers
Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion
Organized in 1973 by Al Batten and David Turnage, this group is one of the longest-established bluegrass groups around. Batten is the bandleader, banjo player, and lead singer while Turnage handles the guitar chores and sings baritone. Other band members include Mike Aldridge, considered one of the best traditional mandolin stylists in the nation; fiddler Johnny Ridge, who has been playing since age 10; and Phil Patterson, who says he lets his upright bass riddle do the talking for him.
The Hager’s Mountain Boys
The Hager’s Mountain Boys started their group on Oct. 13, 2006, playing their first show at Mayo Park Amphitheater. They will be ending their group’s run at the same location where they started when they perform at Pickin’ by the Lake. Group members include Blake Johnson, Mike Johnson, Cliff Smith, and David Nance. Blake Johnson, who plays the acoustic bass, began playing the guitar and piano at age five with his family at church. Mike Johnson started playing the guitar at age six, joining his first band at the age of 12. Smith, who plays banjo for the group, began playing guitar at five, bass at eight, and banjo and fiddle at 12. Likewise, Nance was just five when he started playing the Dobro with his family.
Tyler Jackson and Drive Tyme
Group members include Tyler Jackson, David Owen, Gary Baird, and Jesse Smathers. Baird and Jackson will be doing double-duty at Pickin’ by the Lake since they also are playing with Victoria Lee and New Ground in addition to Drive Tyme. Jackson, age 17, has been playing the banjo for five years, and placed third in the Youth Banjo competition at the Old Time Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. in 2011. Owen started playing music at age eight and plays the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and Dobro and can sing all parts. Baird learned to play music on a ship while serving in the U.S. Navy. He joined a local group after coming home in 1992 and has been playing ever since. He is the bass player and vocalist for Drive Tyme. Smathers of Eden will fill in for regular band member Ronald Smith.
Victoria Lee and New Ground
At age 15, Victoria Lee is the youngest bluegrass performer scheduled for Pickin’ by the Lake. A Garner resident, she is a student at LongLeaf School of the Arts. She provides rhythm guitar and lead vocals for New Ground. Other group members include Bailey Coe, who started learning the violin at age six and now plays the mandolin and sings lead and harmony; Tyler Jackson, who plays the banjo and also performs with Drive Tyme; and Gary Baird, another Drive Tyme member who plays bass.
Pickin’ by the Lake Sponsors
Person County Tourism Development Authority
Better Cable Systems, Inc.
Capital Power Corporation
Gravitte's Floor Design
Camp Chemical Corporation
Mastec North America, Inc.
North Carolina Orthopedic Clinic
Premium Tanks and Stone, Inc.
R&S Sporting Goods
Walter and Melissa Bartlett
Brann's Wrecker Service
C. M. Solomon and Son
Carolina Farm Credit
Carpet One Floor and Home
Carver Brothers Turf
Lin and Dr. Terri Cates
Cleve Wagstaff Stone Masonry
Country Club Convenience and Catering
Dixon Farm and Tree Service, Inc.
Donald W. Wilson, CPA, PA
Grand Occasion Party Rentals
Jimmy Lewis and Sons
La Cocina Mexican Restaurant, Inc.
Legacy Building Company, LLC
Matt's Trucking, Inc.
N Touch Wireless
Oakland Ltd. Real Estate
Piedmont Maintenance & Services, Inc.
Roxboro Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
Royal Textile Mills, Inc./Caswell Pines Golf Course
Tommy Lawrence Electrical Contractors
James Woody, Jr.
Ace Home and Building
Pat and Leon Fogleman
RE/MAX Premier Realty