First Bluegrass Festival entertains a sellout crowd

By on October 6, 2012

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage headlined the first Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival Saturday. (Pat Morris photos)

The first Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival was a sellout Saturday as a crowd estimated at 3,000 enjoyed seven musical performances under perfect skies.

The festival started at 11 a.m. and the crowd grew at Roanoke Island Festival Park in the hours leading up to headliners Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.

Dusk settled over the park with the Roanoke Sound as a backdrop to the amphitheater stage as Vincent wrapped up what by all indications was a successful second day of the three-day festival.

The festival continues Sunday.

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys feature brothers Jonny Mizzone, 9, on banjo, Robbie, 13, on fiddle and Tommy, 14, on guitar.

The Roanoke Sound provides a backdrop for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

Rhonda Vincent (Libbie Morris photo)

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Tom White

October 10, 2012 6:15 pm

Up to this point I have not been a bluegrass fan. I had work at the park though the whole concert. All I can say is “WOW” the music was great!!!!!. Looking forward to next year’s festival.


October 10, 2012 11:52 am

Enjoyed the festival! All the bands that performed on Saturday, the day I attended, were great! Plenty of food vendors. Festival Park is a fantastic location for outdoor concerts. Wish more events like this would be scheduled. Would like to see a different MC for next year, a general consensus by all in my group and everyone sitting around us, by comments I heard people making. Didn’t think it was appropriate for the MC to give a religious sermonette before the show started, to come out and repeat the ‘do’s and don’ts’ while the bands were on stage talking to the audience.She was obnoxious and talked way too much.


October 10, 2012 11:02 am

The past week and week-end in downtown Manteo was wonderful. However, there were so many events it again requires a central clearing house calendar. This was discussed years ago and it may be happening but if the Toursist Bureau ran a calendar so the Blue Grass Festival would have known The Jazz Festival in Duck, The Nags Head Fishing Tournament; Manteo High School Homecoming,First Friday, The Bill Friday International Symposium at the Lost Colony, probably a bunch of weddings (I know of 2 in Manteo) and it was Columbas Day week-end which is always good business; some event may have been switched to another week-end. As part of the Int’l Symposium they offered a free performance lat night at Festival Park of “Patsy Kline” as performed by Laura Martiere. It was a packed theater on a Tuesday night. If this show is offered again, it’s a must to see – excellent!!This past week in Manteo was “Fest Events”.


October 10, 2012 10:26 am

Excellant event. Every thing went smooth and all of volinters could not have been nicer or more helpful. Sound system was excellant and the selection of Bands could not have been better. Looking forward to next year.


October 9, 2012 4:02 pm

I’ve heard and read nothing but great things. I would have been there but had a prior obligation. Maybe next year there could be a few more bands geared toward a younger crowd. A good mix of Bluegrass and Newgrass (Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Steep Canyon Rangers, etc..) Either way, we will be there next year.


October 9, 2012 1:55 pm

A very good first festival!

That having been said, there are several things that can be improved next year.

1) It seemed as if many people parked on the streets of Manteo instead of using the buses. Probably a good thing, as the bus system could stand some improvement.

The signage for the Fort Raleigh parking site was great — signs everywhere in Manteo — until you actually got to the Fort Raleigh turn into the park, at which point the sign wasn’t visible from the road. The car in front of us had to turn around to go back, we turned around, and the car in back of us turned around.

No signs for where the buses would pick us up at the Fort Raleigh’s parking lot.

At the end of the Rhonda Vincent concert, there were no buses waiting to pick up visitors. They showed up about 15 minutes later. Apparently they took back early concert leavers too close to the end of the concert.

2) The festival instructions said “no high backed chairs.” About half the concert goers on Saturday night interpreted this to mean low beach chairs only, while the other half brought regular lawn chairs, making it hard for the people with the low chairs to see. Next year, just say “regular lawn chairs,” unless someone is going to enforce the low chair requirement, including on the chair rental vendor.

3) I wish the sound vendors had gone behind the back speaker towers to listen to their audio settings. The sound tended to distort a bit at high volumes.

However, a very fine effort by the organizers for the first festival!


October 9, 2012 10:50 am

Fantastic job!! Thank you Corey for doing such a wonderful job, now you can rest!! When you didn’t think the OUter Banks could get any better, it did!

Bev Chambers

October 9, 2012 7:51 am

What fun!! Great music!! Great pictures!! Corey did an awesomely wonderful job getting this all together.


October 8, 2012 6:57 pm

Proud of Corey Hemilright and the great job he did bringing such a great event to Dare County. Hope it was the first of many!


October 8, 2012 2:29 pm

Didn’t attend, but it’s always nice to have events like this down here. Looking forward to more.

Nancy Eckert

October 8, 2012 10:49 am

It is impossible for the handicapped to enjoy these events because there is so little handicapped entrances and parking spaces. Was there any offered so we can enjoy this next year??

OBX Outfitters

October 8, 2012 10:22 am

What a FANTASTIC event! We had a great time, met hundreds of wonderful people from all across the country. Special thanks to Cory who organized the whole thing, he did a bang-up job in the face of many challenges. Hope to do it again next year!!!


October 8, 2012 8:08 am

Does anyone know who the event promotor was?

KDH Rezident Evil

October 7, 2012 7:21 pm

Planners of Things: Please don’t make us choose between the Duck Jazz Festival and the Bluegrass Festival next year.

Frank Moore

October 7, 2012 7:57 am

And a good time was had by all !!!!!!!!!


October 6, 2012 10:59 pm

What an awesome weekend, perfect weather, perfect location and awesome music. The organizers did an excellent job promoting, organizing and presenting top of the line entertainment. A wonderful experience that promotes the Outer Banks and best of all,the vendors were local businesses. This is something that can only get bigger and better for the Outer Banks….

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