Appalachian Uprising features bluegrass, newgrass

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

SCOTTOWN — The air was sticky and thick, and falling rain blanketed those who made the trip to rural Lawrence County for an event organizers have called “the fastest-growing bluegrass festival in the United States.”

Thursday afternoon, bands began to take the stage for the Appalachian Uprising, a summer tradition in Scottown that draws thousands out the winding roads of the sleepy little community. The music started echoing in the hills surrounding Eden Valley Farm shortly after noon, with bluegrass fans slowly making their way to the makeshift concert venue.

An estimated 4,000 people were expected this weekend.

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This year’s acts included nationally recognized musicians who performed everything from traditional bluegrass to progressive bluegrass, or “newgrass,” a fusion of bluegrass with flavors of rock ’n’ roll, jazz, blues and even a sprinkling of reggae.

“My parents listened to bluegrass, so I have been around it my entire life,” said Scott Barnes, who came from Chillicothe for the Uprising. “But, I really am into the new stuff that is based on bluegrass, but has a little bit more funk in it.”

He said newgrass is becoming popular because it’s marketed to 20 and 30-somethings. “It’s cool and all my friends in (Ohio University) Athens listen to it. That’s really where I heard it first,” said the 21-year-old OU biology major. “I respect the musical talents of those who were first part of the bluegrass movement, but I think it has progressed, just like every other form of music.”

Barnes’ friend, Jared Robinson, is also a self-proclaimed “newgrass groupie” He and a handful of his friends travel around the country during the summer camping out at festivals such as the Uprising.

“It’s kind of like the ‘Deadheads’ who used to follow around the Grateful Dead, we just are the new generation,” Robinson said.

It was not just the younger fans who traveled to the Uprising.

Thursday, 70-year-old Burt Morris was there when the first act, County Line II, took the stage. The grandfather of three drove his RV from Pennsylvania with his wife, Doris, to be a part of the three-day event.

“This is what we love to do. It’s a great festival, and there are so many good acts to listen to,” Morris said. “There is such a variety, and the people are always really nice here.”

The Uprising’s Web site soon will feature updated photos and information about the event. And for those who missed the event or

didn’t pick up souvenirs, festival items will be available for purchase at the Web site,