FESTIVAL REPORT: by John & Katie Brutcher

We're back for what should be yet another exciting year of bluegrass music, and looking forward to bringing you our feedback from all our travels and sharing our adventures with you. Hoping to see ya all out there on the fields with us.

2014 Palatka Bluegrass Festival

Once again, we were hosted by our friends Dave & Donna Willson in their beautiful 5th wheel camper. Dave, of course, is the fiddle player for Lake Effect Bluegrass Band.

Every year, the Rodeheaver Boys' Ranch, just outside of Palatka, FL, turns into a premier bluegrass festival. This three day festival, beginning on Thursday, ending on Saturday, with the mass exit on Sunday, never disappoints. It is always held at the later end of February and consequently brings in "snow birds" from all over.

The festival opened with Kody Norris & The Watauga Mountain Boys, The James King Band with Merle Johnson on fiddle. They played my favorite, "A Few Old Love Letters". The Bluegrass Brothers tore into "Doing My Time" and "Ruby". Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers played "Blue Virginia Blue" and other great selections.

The highlight of the evening came from Jimmy Fortune. He was one of the original Statler Brothers. He has a fantastic voice and is award winning song writer. He brought tears from many in the audience with his beautiful rendition of "How Great Thou Art" and "My Only Love".

Dailey & Vincent's portion of the program was nothing shy of spectacular, giving us an hour and 15 minutes of pure entertainment.
Just when you didn't think the evening couldn't end on a better note, Jimmy Fortune came out a joined Daley & Vincent! Another emotional moment came when they sang "The Wall", which Mr. Fortune wrote. It was a true tribute to all veterans.
And this was all on the opening day!
Friday started out with The Stevens Family, Goldwing Express, The Primitive Quartet, The Seldom Scene and Dry Branch Fire Squad. Our very own Gibson Brothers played their hits, "I'm Dying For Someone To Live For" and "She Moved Like A Devil's Dream". Also note, that they are coming out with a new project attributing to great brothers in history, such as the Everly Bros. and the Louvin Bros.


Saturday opened with the, Banjo Player of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year, Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad. The Little Roy & Lizzy Show performed their foot stomping "Let It Rain" and "Orange Blossom Special" numbers. Marty Raybon & Full Circle brought down the house with his beautiful "Beulah Land" and "Ghost In This House".
The evening raged on with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage! She came out wearing a shimmering, bright, very Floridian, multi-color gown and the guys wore matching bright pink and orange shirts. WOW. Their usual spectacular program was all of that.

Gene Watson & The Farewell Party Band closed the festival with a 90-minute show with Rhonda Vincent appearing as his special guest.