Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Post-Festival Update

If you missed the 15th Annual Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival, you missed a weekend of perfect weather, great bands and a gathering of festival attendees who seemed to have a blast.  The week leading up to the event was quite busy with the arrival (on the 13th) of our grandson, campers arriving, jamming and also Joe's birthday.  We really enjoyed getting to visit with our early arrivals.  There is a window of time between the first arrival and the start of the festivities when we are able to visit with our festival friends and do a little jamming, etc.  To us, that is the best time of the festival.  After the event starts, we're usually preoccupied with business and can't enjoy visiting with everyone until the day after it all ends.
This year the crowd was great as was the music.  Maybe some of you saw the awesome Balsam Range shows.  They were the 2014 winners of the IBMA's award for Entertainer of the Year and also the Vocal Group of the Year.  Lead singer, Buddy Melton, took home the award for Male Vocalist of the Year, too.  BR has been with us for several years since they first started touring.  We are happy to say that many of the bands who are recognized each year for excellence in their field have performed for you right here on our stage.  
I'm going to post a few photos from our festival here as well as a few from our recent trip to IBMA.  We made the last minute decision to attend IBMA in Raleigh this year right after our festival.    There are photos on our facebook page,Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival, too.  However, the Facebook App has been corrupted on my computer so I can't access it right now.  In the meantime, I will post news here until I can resolve that issue.
Thanks so much to all of you who came to enjoy and support our event.

Here's Ted Lehmann most likely making notes for his blog and YouTube channel.
On Wednesday night we put the Potluck Band in the spotlight for a little pre-festival entertainment. These guys have been jamming in the campground every year.  2014 was their year to have a little light to shine on their talent.
Dumplin Valley received some great attention from our local NBC affiliate, WBIR.  We really appreciate their coverage & PR to spread the word about the great bluegrass experience to be had right here.
In spite of severe health issues this past year, the great storyteller, James King, put on a fine performance.   He is much loved by bluegrassers everywhere.

Joe got to sing with Rhonda Vincent and The Rage.  Rhonda has become a fixture here at Dumplin Valley and this year even had a group of her "Ragers" holding a reunion here.  Let's clear something up here.  Rhonda is the Queen of Bluegrass.  But around here, it is I who is the Queen of Dumplin Valley!!
What a great Friday night crowd.  Our son, Wes, was climbing up the little silo to remove his camera which had been recording the crowd coming in and out of the barn.  That video, as well as one showing festival prep, can be seen over on our Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival Facebook page.

LRB (Lonesome River Band) has closed the show on Saturday night for a few years now.  At least this year they weren't upstaged by the skunk who visited them about 3 years ago.  Thankfully, he didn't spray anyone.  He only wanted to eat someone's popcorn on the floor :)

Balsam Range at IBMA Awards
The Earls of Leicester at IBMA
The crowd at the street festival in Raleigh at IBMA.
Joe is holding a memento from Stage B (a popular campsite here and at other festivals) to show their representation at IBMA.
Here's Sir Walter Raleigh.
IBMA gathering of banjo pickers
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway..............we jumped off I-40 on the way home and found a gentler more picturesque route home from IBMA.
This photo was made from the porch at the Moses Cone house on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  One of my favorite views of all time.  Any time of year is a good time to sit on that porch and take in the vista of the area around Blowing Rock, NC.
Standing on top of the parking garage in Raleigh, we noticed LRB's bus parked below.  I think it looks better in our driveway!

Bluegrass makes everyone want to dance!

Take a look at our Facebook Page to see the time lapse videos of the tents going up and the crowd making a dash for that supper time break.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Oh, my goodness!  I have less than a month to get it all together and be ready for our homeplace to turn into a little bluegrass village.  How will we ever get it done?   Actually, those are the sentiments I express every year about this time.  And it never changes.  I start to feel the pressure of all the preparation bearing down on me. But this year there is an element of anticipation in the air.  We are very anxiously awaiting the arrival of a precious little grandson who is due at festival time.  Some of you may recall that we experienced the joyful event of the birth of our first grandchild 3 years ago when our daughter gave birth to a precious little girl nearly two weeks prior to the 2011 festival.  At least this time around the birth will take place here in Tennessee instead of Colorado.  *Thank you, kids, for moving back to Tennessee!
We've had a busy summer with some beautiful weddings being held here on the farm.  And there is another one scheduled for the Saturday following the festival.  And in spite of the busy happenings here at home, we found time to attend 3 major bluegrass festivals (Auburn, AL; Marion, NC; The MACC in Columbus, Ohio) to see many of the bands you'll be seeing here in a few weeks.  
Currently we are trying to wrap up our camping reservations.  If you haven't sent in your balance, you need to call asap.  The packets will be put together next week and we must have everyone's money for camping and those advance tickets before I get started on those.  Please take care of this little bit of business if you haven't already.  The deadline was August 15 but several of you are still dragging your feet!  Our waitlist was unusually long this year but we have finally managed to get everyone placed.
 It's going to be a great year for jamming.  We already have some jammers camping with us awaiting the festival.  So don't forget to pack your instrument of choice before you leave home!
We hope you'll see your favorite band here this year.  And if your favorite isn't on the lineup, rest assured that the bands on the lineup are top notch and will try to quench your need for bluegrass.
If you are planning to arrive early in the week, keep in mind that you will be allowed to place your chairs in the barn beginning Monday, Sept. 15 at 7am if you have already purchased your tickets.
Here's a special request from a couple of our campers who love to play tennis: Lamar Moss and Jerry Bailey will be arriving Sunday, Sept. 14 and would like to challenge a couple of you to a match on one of the fine courts in Sevierville sometime during the week.  Lamar's wife, Janet would also like to find some ladies to play doubles.  Are you game?  If you are, let me know and I will put you in touch with them.  They play every year when they visit for the festival.
Food........................we'll have plenty of vendors to choose from this year.  I'm especially anxious to have Dale's Fried Pies here.   They are a regular vendor at the Knoxville Farmers Market events and have wonderful food.  
The schedule is already posted on the website.  Take a look and see when your favorite bands are going to grace our stage.  We hope you're going to love the shows this year.
We are going to be hosting visitors from all over the US and abroad.  If you're coming from another country, be sure to let us know!  We want to welcome all bluegrassers from everywhere!
If you have any questions about the festival, please give us a call or send an email.   Tickets are available at the gate.  Bring a friend, your chair and a good attitude to have a great bluegrass experience here at Dumplin Valley!  See you in September. :) m

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Few Good Men Or Women, As The Case May Be............

In part 3 of my salute to our volunteers, I'm going to show a few more photos of some of our Dumplin Valley army of friends who give up their family time to spend the weekend helping us see to the needs of the Festivarians.  Sadly, I don't have access to photos of every single person who has helped out so I will present some that I could readily pull up and post.
Roy Swann, Sami Moore, Gene & Barb LeGrand

Joe with Bobby & Barbara Mull

Joe & Gene holding down the gate

Gene, Sherry Moore, Frank Alden

Barb LeGrand

Wes Soward & Randy Martin

Joe, Bobby & Rhonda Pate

Wes & Barb
Some of the other volunteers are Gene Bell, Joe & Julie Winter, Stanley Moore, Trenta Swann, Al & Staci Caton (for the use of their 4-wheeler), Dollie Alden, Tom & Jeanne Winn.  And we must include W.A. & Rhonda Pate who always pitch in whenever they are here as well as Ted & Irene Lehman.  Irene even covers the merch tables for several of the bands in addition to talking photos and blogging with Ted. 
It really does take a village to run a festival.  I'm sure I haven't given credit to everyone so I apologise for that.  We are grateful for all the help we have spreading our fliers and getting the word out about an event that we are proud to put our name on.  It couldn't be done without all of you.  Thanks ever so much!!!! m

It Takes A Village.............

I hope you read the previous post on a couple of our volunteers.  Without our volunteers there could be no festival as it is quite an undertaking.  We have been blessed by the generosity of our friends & family who have given so much of their time and talents to help us present a first class event for your enjoyment.  Once inside the venue you will most likely encounter several people who are here to make sure that the people buying tickets to the shows have a good time.  Some of these unsung heroes are not up front and center and may not be noticed right away.  But they wouldn't have it any other way.   If things are running smoothly, you can bet that these volunteers are doing a fine job to ensure just that.  Having said all that, let's take a look at some of them.

Let's start with Bobby & Barbara Mull.  They have been here from our humble beginnings and have become quite the ambassadors for Dumplin Valley.  Bobby's main "job" is addressing the arrival and needs of campers.  It's usually his smiling face that greets the campers as they enter the farm.  He's so familiar with the layout of the campground and the rigs of our repeat visitors that he can identify most of them when they approach the gate and knows where they're going before they even drive onto the grounds.  
You'll also see him picking up the slack wherever and whenever he senses the need.  And he is often accompanied by his wife, Barbara, who is also a VIP.  Barbara pitches in wherever needed and that might include anything from paper towel patrol to administrative assistance.  They've even been known to provide some meals for bands from time to time.    It was certainly a lucky day for us when we crossed paths with these two fine bluegrass lovers.  We've leaned on them a lot in the last 14 years for advice and guidance as they are veterans of the bluegrass trail with lots of stories to tell.  They are good ambassadors for Dumplin Valley on that trail as they carry our brochures on their travels and help spread the word.  
During the festival you'll find them parked near the pavilion with little Molly Rose on the dash.  Molly Rose is the official bluegrass cat of Dumplin Valley now.  Thank you Bobby & Barbara for all you do. 

I hope these photos will help folks identify Bobby & possibly clear up the confusion of who is Joe and who is Bobby!  They each answer to whichever name someone calls them.  But they both do so many jobs on the grounds that people get them confused. 
Thanks, you guys, we couldn't do it without you!! m

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Gene LeGrand!

Today's local paper carried a story on the front page which featured one of our faithful volunteers, Gene LeGrand.  Not only has he been here every year working tirelessly at the gate selling tickets, giving directions, welcoming people and providing information to the many people who drop by his tent, he can also be found at various charitable organizations volunteering his time (alongside his wife, Barb).  In this instance, he was photographed while judging the local county science fair.   Needless to say, we are proud of Gene for his generosity in serving the community in so many ways.  He and Barb are very important cogs in the festival wheel at Dumplin Valley.  Barb is in charge of handling/selling the t-shirts, information table & also makes reservations while answering the phone and answering questions for the folks who drop by her headquarters.   We know we are lucky to have such fine help.  And Sevier County is lucky to have this couple giving so much of their time.   I actually met them while volunteering at Sevier County Food Ministries.  They just happened to be working on the same day that I worked there and we soon bonded and the rest is history.  Volunteering to work at a bluegrass festival without knowing much about the music was a big step for them.  And now they have been converted to the category of being fans.  We've certainly learned a lot through the last 14 years together and we look forward to experiencing September festival #15 in 2014.


Check back for another installment of a salute to our volunteers.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Keeping Your Noggin Warm

As we await the approaching frigid weather tonight I find myself thinking about a discussion we had recently about the name of the head covering depicted in this photo.  The somewhat reluctant "model" calls it a toboggan as I do. 

But I have encountered rude salespeople who looked at me as if I had 3 heads (which would make their job even more challenging to find a "toboggan" to fit me) when I asked where to find them in their store.   So, it occurred to me that perhaps this is one of those regional words that is used in our neck of the woods.  What do you call it if not a toboggan?   I know that a toboggan is also a wooden sled with a curved front.  But how did this word make the transition to a hat?  And where can I go shopping for one without being stared or sneered at when asking for one.   I asked for one in a ski shop in Denver and the clerk thought I was nuts (that's debatable).  Perhaps my accent might have been her clue that I wasn't from around there and maybe spoke a different language. 
I suppose the recent discussion we had with some friends on this topic reminded me of some of those words/phrases we use here in East Tennessee that folks in other regions don't use in the same fashion.  I had not given the matter much thought since the night of the "big debate" until I was watching the news & weather a couple of nights ago and heard the meteorologist say "toboggan" when referring to covering her head.  And then tonight at supper (or is it dinner at your house)  I overheard a lady saying that there were no "buggies" at the grocery store due to the impending snowstorm.  So that made me think about the buggy vs. cart thing. Oh, well....................
Anyway, we would love to hear your version of this debate..............what do you call it and where are you from?   If you can't figure out how to leave a comment here, leave it on our facebook page.
Thanks a bunch!
Oh, my! There's only a little over an hour left until the season 4 premier of Downton Abbey.  This has been the longest wait for a new episode since somebody shot J.R.    That's the reason we ate early tonight.  I wasn't going to take a chance on missing it.  Joe just laughed at me as he doesn't watch it and will most likely be in bed by the time it comes on.   Don't know what it is about that show but I'm addicted to it. I resisted watching it but found myself channel-surfing one evening and was hooked when I actually stopped long enough to watch it.   Not sure if it is the magnificent cinematography,the beautiful scenery, the storyline, the outstanding attention to detail in the costumes or all of the above, but it is quite a program and I am anxious to get on with this season's story.  Nice way to start the new year on a cold night.     Think I'll run and put another log on the fire and await one of PBS' best shows ever!        m

Thursday, January 2, 2014

HELLO 2014

No excuse.  That's all I can say for not posting/blogging in 2013.  When I started to put this post up I was shocked to see that it had been so long since I last took time to update.  Gee, I've got to do a better job.  I think I put most of my information on our facebook page and just neglected this one.  Don't let me do that again.  If you notice me slacking off again, send me a message and I'll get on it!

 2014 got here way too fast.  I don't know where the time went.  We didn't do much traveling last year but did manage to get to a few bluegrass shows nearby.   Our 14th annual festival was a great time with a record crowd in attendance.  The farm was also the setting for some weddings & receptions in addition to a few other events.  We kept quite busy with all the activities going on around here. 

We have a great lineup for 2014 and are anxious to present the bands for your enjoyment.  Here's a sneak preview of the schedule:

9/18: The Little Roy & Lizzy Show

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier

Adkins & Loudermilk

Cordle, Jackson & Salley

9/19: Rhonda Vincent & The Rage

Balsam Range

James King

Donna Ulisse & The Poor Mountain Boys

Volume Five

9/20: Lonesome River Band


The Spinney Brothers

Darin & Brooke Aldridge

The Bankesters

This will be the first time Dumplin Valley has presented Adkins & Loudermilk, Volume Five, Sideline and also The Bankesters.   The other bands will be familiar to our festivarians.  We hope you will start making plans to join us September 18-20.   If you are planning to camp, you will need reservations and those need to be made soon as we are fast approaching the "full" level.  You can call us at 865-397-7942 to make your reservations.

Also, we will be once again be having a camping & picking weekend May 16 & 17.    This is a weekend of hanging out with picking friends, camping, jamming & visiting.  No shows or vendors will be scheduled that weekend.  We've done this the past 2 years and it has been lots of fun.  Joe and I are able to relax and join in the jams, etc. that we miss out on during festival week.   This is also the same weekend as the Annual Bloomin Barbeque & Bluegrass event held in Sevierville so it offers our pickers an alternative or a break in the evening to attend the free shows offered by the city of Sevierville.  That event usually ends early enough to allow time for some late evening picking here.  The only charge that weekend is your camping fee (which is our regular overnight rate). 

We hope you will plan to join us for both May and September.    Check out our Facebook page @ Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival and also our website:  The info on the website should be updated soon.  In the meantime, keep on supporting bluegrass and we'll be looking for you on the bluegrass trail. m