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Bluegrass competition added to Marble Festival 2012


The Bruce Week's Family Band will be heading up the Bluegrass Gospel Entertainment on Sunday, October 7 of the Georgia Marble Festival.

     For 2012, organizers of the Georgia Marble Festival will add a significant change to the festival when it opens on the first weekend in October.

In addition to the quarry tours and parade, this year’s edition will feature the “Georgia State Bluegrass Championships” on the festival grounds. It will also bring a night-time headliner bluegrass concert to close out the first day of the two day festival.


     Chamber President Denise Duncan said they decided to make the addition to bring new life to the 32-year-old Pickens festival.

     This is the first time the chamber has included a night-time attraction on the festival grounds at Lee Newton Park. Previously they have hosted a country music concert at the high school and have worked with the City of Jasper and their Main Street Mania concerts to have something in downtown during the festival weekend.

     For the  bluegrass event, the chamber is adding a second concert stage to the festival. Ernie McArthur, the co-chair of this year’s event, along with Dave Garner, the chairman, said they will have the local acts on one stage and have the bluegrass competition going on a second stage. Festival organizers said they recognize the importance of providing a spot for local acts from cloggers to singers to martial arts demonstrations but want to be able to also have the bluegrass acts, expected to come from across the region.

     Duncan and McArthur envision Lee Newton Park with the grassy fields, trees, creek and an old cabin as a perfect venue for the bluegrass.

     McArthur said the evening concert will be a great way to incorporate the Main Street Mania excitement into the existing Marble Festival. Main Street Mania is on hold this year due to construction at the courthouse spot where crowds used to congregate for the monthly events.

     McArthur, who is already working to organize the bluegrass competition, said he has been surprised to hear how devoted serious bluegrass fans are to certain styles and competitions. He said they have already lined up recognized judges. But these judges asked their names not be released to prevent groups from lobbying them ahead of time, which has happened at other events.

     McArthur said bluegrass festivals and competition are a big draw across the country, but there wasn’t a major one already during the fall in North Georgia. Hopes are that the   Georgia State Bluegrass Championships will become a recognized competition for this area.

     There will be prizes awarded for fiddle, bass, mandolin, guitar and full band.

     The competition between the acts will run through the normal festival hours with the concert starting Saturday night in the evening. Festival tickets for the day will be good for the concert as well. The amusement park rides will continue to operate Saturday night and vendors at the festival will be encouraged to stay open for the concert.

Duncan said the chamber is working to revamp the festival and seeing what is working well at other North Georgia events. “We are looking at other festivals and we will put out a competitive product here,” McArthur said.

     One perennial problem faced by festival organizers is since the festival began 32 years ago, is the declining amount of marble on display in the arts competition and among the wares for sale on the grounds.

     Festival organizers are inviting anyone with marble products or marble art works they would like to display or a marble craft they could demonstrate to contact them.

     “We are working to expand our arts presence and hoping to have marble pieces on display and to have some working sculptors showing their craft,” Duncan said.

For more information on the festival or bluegrass competition call 706-692-5600.


Kenneth Newell
+1 #1 Kenneth Newell 2012-06-06 14:28
I would more info on Bluegrass festival and band compition
[Editor's Note: You can contact the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce at 706-692-5600]
-3 #2 Boo 2012-06-07 10:24
I know some people love bluegrass (myself not one of those folks), but can we get something that would attract younger people? How about some southern rock or even just good old rock and roll?
+3 #3 mikewillifordjr 2012-06-11 05:43
Boo, by the way, we do a Thursday night at the chamber of commerce, you may see the signs, come up sometime we have dinner and fellowship, and you would be amazed at the young people getting involved in this acoustic art form we call "bluegrass", it took me a while to come around to it { classic rock, and blues being my music of choice} as a musician of almost 30 years I have found that bluegrass is as much structured as jazz, and 10 times harder to play than rock or blues. It should be an enjoyable time.
Dan Daniel
+1 #4 Dan Daniel 2012-06-25 12:43
There will be prizes awarded for fiddle, bass, mandolin, guitar and full band.

What About Banjo?
+1 #5 Allkeysaccepted 2012-06-28 01:54
Seriously?! What about the GA Fiddler's Convention in Hiawassee. And oh! The judges' names won't be revealed? This just proves that certain young people that have been continuously winning these competitions in the past have been dirty cheaters! I won't be going to this for sure! Don't want to sit and watch some dip chewin', Carharrt and John Deere wearing rednecks "mash" as they call it. I don't want to sit through some stupidly boring set that is 90-100% in the key of B! Seriously Boo! Doing something that will bring the younger folks too! It's that simple!
0 #6 Rachael 2012-08-01 10:21
Many youths these days must be listening to garbage radio stations where the complexity of the music is reduced to digitally mixed loops and bridges. Blahh, if you know anything about Bluegrass then you've heard of people like Tony Rice, Allison Krauss (who's recently head lined with classic rocker Robert Plant,) and one of my favorite new artists, Steep Canyon Rangers, (whose fiddle player is a former Julliard student.) Bluegrass is an amaxing collection of styles and genres including influences from Africa, Ireland, and the hills of good O' Kentucky with Bill Monroe. Interested in banjo played like no one else check out Bella Fleck. If the future of music in this country is ever going to get past marketing tools like no talent boy bands, you've got to at least try some new flavors. Speaking of flavour listen to some tracks by the Chocolate Drops.
0 #7 Allkeysaccepted 2012-08-10 02:34
To Rachael. Where ever you are and whoever you are.....marry me! You nailed it in the head sweet lady!
0 #8 Andy 2012-08-10 02:41
Can I bring my Tablature and music stand? The rules don't mention if it's against the rules?
0 #9 Allkeysaccepted 2012-08-10 02:44
By the way all of those artists you mentioned Rachel are some of my favorite! I am an actual bluegrass musician myself.
Inquisitive B-jammer
0 #10 Inquisitive B-jammer 2012-08-10 02:52
I would like to inquire more information about this competition. I am an educated man that enjoys playing in B chord thank you very much, and I have Lou Reid tablature book that I must use in order to succeed in the flatpicking competition. Is it ok if I bring my stand and tab book to look at to help guide me along? And I want to enter banjo as well. I am thinking about playing Whiskey before Breakfast playing all melodics but shhhh it's a secret don't tell anybody!

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