For those that were not able to attend the 2016 Mineral Bluegrass Festival, you missed a great show. Unfortunately, great shows (by themselves) are not enough to keep the festival going. Ticket sales are also needed. The last few years have been filled with hope and anticipation that attendance would increase. 2015 was a banner year, and the festival seemed destined to reclaim its former glory. With that in mind, I anticipated a great turnout. But the numbers were simply not there. Despite the love for traditional music forms; a desire to present great talent; our policy of free attendance for children; and not increasing the price of a three-day ticket, the festival consistently lost money. As a result, Shifflett Family Entertainment, Inc. can no longer financially promote this wonderful event.
We met many people and made many new friends, but the losses have been too great to ignore. It has been an honor to be a part of the history of the Mineral Bluegrass Festival, and to have shared the stage with so many of bluegrass music’s finest including but not limited to IIIrd Tyme Out, Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Junior Sisk, Big Country Bluegrass, Karl Shiflett, Kody Norris, Goldwing Express, the Bluegrass Brothers, the Malpass Brothers, and all the other groups and performers that graced the stage in Mineral – especially the local groups, without whose involvement we never would have been able to continue for so long. As I stood on that stage on the last night, I pondered the thought of how Charlie Waller, Lester Flatt, Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks, the Osborne Brothers, James King, Ricky Skaggs, Jim & Jesse, the Lewis Family, and so many other bluegrass giants stood there too; and in the midst of the July heat, the long shadow of these legendary artists cooled my spirit and touched my heart.
There is no way to properly thank all of the people that helped us throughout the years. And whether you worked the gate, sold t-shirts, helped the bands load and unload, picked up trash, gave rides to the elderly and infirm, sold tickets for the guitar give-a-way, cooked meals, or kept the electrical infrastructure working, you know who you are and I owe you a debt of gratitude.
I have often said that bluegrass fans are a unique lot. Sitting in the summer heat for three days straight shows a level of devotion and love for music not routinely observed in our modern world. I hope to see many of you “down the line.” In the meantime, please do what you can to support bluegrass and other traditional music forms. Go to other festivals, buy CDs, and patronize events like the Mineral Bluegrass Festival. Too many festivals have already given way to time and progress, and poor attendance. I sincerely thank each attendee from the bottom of my heart, and wish you the very best. I do not say goodbye because I am convinced that I will see many of you again. So, until next time…
Your Friend in Music,
George Clark Shifflett, III
President/Shifflett Family Entertainment, Inc.