Friday festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and admission is $5. This year, the festival will include a “24 hour jam” in which “pickers” and guitar players will play continuously for you guessed it, 24 hours.
Project Director Beth Rembert commented on the prospective longevity of the “24 hour jam.”
“Hopefully, we can have a repeat of the success we had last year,” Rembert said. “We are putting out an APB for all musicians to help get us through the night.”
Ola Belle Reed (Ola Wave Campbell) was born in Lansing, on August 17, 1915. She learned to pick the banjo at an early age and began writing songs about her life in the mountains. Gladys Reeves, 91, of Lansing, remembers Ola Belle playing the banjo and singing to her while she did her homework. “She was real smart” Gladys remembers, “and didn’t have to study much after school.”
During the Depression, Ola Belle’s family moved to Baltimore, where, with her brother Alex, she performed on radio stations across the state. In 1951, together with husband Bud, Alex and his wife Lucy, she founded the popular music venue, “The New River Ranch”. Ola Belle wrote over two hundred songs, including, “High on a Mountain”, and “I’ve Endured”. She received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award and was recently inducted into the Washington Area Musicians Association Hall of Fame
The Ola Belle Reed Homecoming Festival will feature performances by Ola Belle’s husband and sons, musicians who played with her over the years, newer groups that are carrying on her tradition, and local talent.
In addition to the Reed Family, Crescent Moon Rounders, JC Kemp and Friends, Elkville String Band, White Top Mountain Band, Grayson Highlands Band, Si Kahn, the Dixie B-Liners, and Tangle Weed will be in attendance at this year’s event.
The festival itself is part of a fundraiser through the GLAD program, Greater Lansing Area Development plan, which is geared toward the revitalization of the Lansing Community.
“Our goal is to get the commercial district of Lansing booming again. In the past, Lansing was bit of a boom town with the introduction of the railroad and we would like to see that again.” Rembert said.
Part of the proceeds will also go toward the expansion of the current Creep Walker Trail.
On Saturday at the Old Lansing School house, musical workshops will be provided to pass on education on traditional blue grass music as well as skills and techniques for prospective musicians. Guitarist Steve Lewis and banjo player David Reed will be on hand to provide instruction in the workshop along with Si Kahn’s workshop on songwriting.
In addition to live performances and workshops, a large four acre field adjacent to the field will be sanctioned off to provide camping sites to prospective outdoorsmen at very reasonable prices.
For more information, visit www.olabellefest.com or call 336-384-5716.