ALBEMARLE — After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the premier music events in Stanly County is slated to make its return this week.
The annual Big Lick Bluegrass Festival — set for April 21-23 at Big Lick Festival Park in Oakboro (640 S. Oak Ridge Rd.) — is back for its 18th year with a selection of music, camping sites and food vendors.
“We’re looking forward to making it down to Oakboro this coming Saturday,” Sammy Shelor, band leader and banjoist for the Lonesome River Band, said in a video message on the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival’s social media page. “Y’all need to come join your host Mr. Jeff Branch, all the staff and a lot of great bands….We’re going to have a great time and we’ll see you there on Saturday.”
The Lonesome River Band is one of 21 different bluegrass and Americana acts that are scheduled to play at the festival.
An open mic night will kick off the festivities on April 21 at 6 p.m. while nine artists will play on April 22 between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. Additionally, a dozen artists will play on April 23 between noon and 11 p.m.
High Fidelity (6 p.m.), Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers (7 p.m.), Sideline (8 p.m.), and A Deeper Shade of Blue (9 p.m.) will be the second-night headliners; Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive (6 p.m.), The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (7 p.m.), Appalachian Road Show (8 p.m,), and The Lonesome River Band (9:30 p.m.) will headline the final night of the festival.
Regular tickets, early bird tickets, and camping information for the event can be found at www.biglickbluegrass.com. Daily ticket prices range from $5 to $35 based on attendee age and the chosen day. For those wanting to attend the entire festival, three-day tickets are on sale for $75.
Cindy Baucom, emcee for the syndicated radio program, “Knee Deep In Bluegrass,” is once again a sponsor of the festival.
Baucom shared a statement on the event’s social media page: “Knee-Deep In Bluegrass is excited to partner with Jeff Branch and the Big Lick Bluegrass Festival in April. This event is always one of the first outdoor bluegrass festivals in this region every year. With the pandemic causing a postponement the past two years, music fans seem even more thrilled to have this festival coming up soon with its fabulous line-up of talent! Several of my network affiliates are within an easy drive of Oakboro, NC, so I am happy to help present this one, for sure.”
The upcoming festival is sponsored by Leon Eugene Warren — a candidate for Stanly County Commissioner At Large — as well as Union Power Cooperative of North Carolina, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and others.