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Louie Bluie Festival set for Saturday

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By Jennifer Caldwell

Music may be the tie that binds, but it is just one of the threads that makes up the phenomenon known as the Louie Bluie Music and Arts festival.

Armed with a line up of performers, storytellers and artisans long enough to fill up a week, the one-day festival scheduled for June 12 truly has something for everyone.

Jocelyn Griffo, co-chair of the Louie Bluie festival, called the collaboration required to pull off the fourth year of the festival that has grown almost exponentially in size “a great community effort.”

“We are now getting a reputation all over the nation and becoming a destination,” Griffo said of the interest the festival has garnered from those near and far.

While the actual festival will be held on Saturday this year’s event will also feature a pre-festival concert on Friday evening.

The Sounds Like Home concert will feature blue grass and barbeque.  Knoxville group Grasstowne as well as a reunion of the Pinnacle Mountain Boys will treat concert goers to a evening of blue grass on the festival grounds at Cove Lake State Park.  Tickets for the event are $10 and may be purchase on line at www.louibluie.org, the chamber of commerce or at the gate.  Griffo said attendees will also be given the unique opportunity to learn about the roots of blue grass in a pre-concert workshop that begins at 5:15 p.m. This session features Pinnacle Mountain Boys members Charlie Collins, Larry McNeely, Don Gulley, and Steve Gulley of Grass Towne demonstrating and discussing fiddle, banjo, and string band techniques that evolved from old-time music into newer post-World War II bluegrass styles.

“This is a pretty unique event that has taken a lot of work to organize,” Griffo said of the efforts required to put gather the group of internationally acclaimed artists.

In keeping with the representation of the life and times of renaissance man Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, Griffo said the festival offers so much more than just a display of musical talent.

With more than 60 arts and crafts vendors scheduled to be on the grounds the day of the festival, Griffo said those interested in viewing and purchasing handcrafted merchandise will have a variety of items to choose from.

The park’s pavilion will provide a cool place for local and regional artists to display their talents in painting, woodworking and quilting.  Submissions and judging for the youth and adult amateur art competition will be held at the pavilion on June 11.  Entries for the contest must be received by 4 p.m. that day.

“This is a great place to see what local people are producing with their own hands,” Griffo explained.

There will be no shortage of activities for children to enjoy at this year’s festival as well.  The Kid’s Fun Zone will offer face painting, craft demonstrations and games.  Stilt walkers will also be on hand to wow the crowd and lead children on a parade throughout the festival.

Among the performances slated to take place on the festival’s three stages, perhaps one of the most anticipated is that of the Howard Armstrong Legacy Band featuring Armstong’s own son Ralphe Armstrong.

The Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival will be held on June 12 from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Cove Lake State Park.  While limited seating will be available at each of the three stages, attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for additional seating.  For more information on the festival visit www.louiebluie.org.