Freemans#039; passion becomes music festival

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

PROCTORVILLE - Joe Freeman gave his son David a gift - a family heirloom that his son will have his entire life - the gift of music.

Freeman has been playing the banjo for approximately 20 years and passed that love to his son. He has a bluegrass band, the Joe Freeman Band, which mostly consists of family members. Joe plays the banjo, his son plays the mandolin and his cousin plays the bass. Freeman said the gift of music is something a child will always have with his or her.

"It's something that he'll have for a lifetime," he said. "That's something that people give to a child, a heritage - a family heirloom."

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How did his son come to have such a huge interest in music? Freeman

took David to a concert at the Paramount Arts Center, and David was so impressed that he wanted to learn how to play the mandolin.

The rest is history and now they jam together and share their skills with fellow bluegrass fans each year.

The second annual Lawrence County Bluegrass Festival will be at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Proctorville Aug. 11-13.

Joe Freeman said that they have put a lot more advertising into the festival this year. It is being sponsored by his company, Quality Care Nursing Services, Inc. Five percent of the profits will be donated to Make-A-Wish and 5 percent will be donated to Feed the Children.

"People in this area are always complaining that there is nothing to do," Freeman said. "We're giving them good, clean, family fun and we're hoping that they come out and support it so we can continue to have it."

Freeman said he tries to do his part, as a music producer, to provide something for families to do. Freeman said they tried to price the festival low, so that more people would be able to attend and so parents could bring their children.

"You never know what's going to inspire them and give them a skill that's going to be a family heirloom," he said.

Freeman said his grandfather played banjo and many other members of his family, including his cousins, played musical instruments.

He also said studies show children who play a musical instrument tend to do better in school. He encourages people to bring their children out and allow them to experience the music.

"You never know," he said. "The sky is the limit with these kids."

Freeman said that some of the best people in bluegrass will be performing at the event. Bands include IIIrd Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Mountain Heart, The Lonesome River Band and the Larry Stephenson Band.

"I tried to bring in the best," Freeman said.

Many people attend benefits determined on the weather and Freeman said that was a reason they chose the fairgrounds as a venue, so the weather would not be a factor. The venue is covered and in the event of inclement weather, there will be covered shelter for the bands playing and the fans enjoying the music.

The Lawrence County Bluegrass Festival starts Aug. 11, with the first band playing at 5 p.m.

A three-day ticket is $55, a two-day ticket is $35 and a single-day ticket is $22. For more information contact Jim Thompson at (740) 867-4176 or (304) 544-5255. For ticket sales or information see