Staging an Uprising: Bluegrass event thrills

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

SCOTTOWN — The rest of the year, a huge open field on Steve Cielac’s Windsor Township farm is exactly that, a huge open field flanked by hillsides and neighboring farms.

But one weekend of the year, it becomes a veritable Mecca for bluegrass music enthusiasts and people who yearn for a simpler life, if only for a while.

The annual Appalachian Uprising bluegrass festival was this weekend and Cielac, who organizes the event, estimated the crowd at 7,000.

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“Things have been fantastic,” Cielac said. “We had a little rain Thursday but it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.”

Cielac said the whole point of Appalachian Uprising is “to give people a place to come, listen to some good music and make new friends.”

On one end of the open field, the Uprising had produced a temporary camper-and-tent city. At the other end of the field were the stage, a big top tent for the spectators to get out of the sun and vendor booths.

Seven thousand people can get fairly hungry and Appy-goers could buy just about anything from smoothies to biscuits and gravy to hippie hash.

Hippie hash? It is potatoes marinated in rosemary and garlic and sautéed with one’s choice of corned beef, peppers and onion or mushrooms.

“We’re just getting started and we saw this (Appy Uprising) on the net,” explained Shawn Breadon, whose brother, Todd, and sister-in-law, Nicole, are the owners of the vendor booth. “I’ve never been this far south in Ohio before.”

Appy-goers could also find banjos for sale and clothing and artwork. Jason Stoddart of Cookeville, Tenn., brought his photographic art to sell.

“I guess my wife found it online and the lineup looked so good,” he said. “I thought I’d make the trip out and see what it was all about.”

For the bluegrass fan, the weekend promised a smorgasbord of both well-known acts (Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time) as well as some up-and-coming artists.

While the adults pulled up a chair for the music, the kids found other things to do.

One group rolled a huge colorful ball down the hill, others splashed in a blow-up kiddie pool. Five-year-old Brigit Nilles, of Huntington, W.Va., found the creek that runs alongside the field enough fun that Mommy eventually ended up carrying her around, although Brigit insisted she really wasn’t that tired.

“I love it here. This is what we do at the end of school,” Brigit’s mom, Carrie Nilles said. “This is the first year the creek has not been a necessity. The first two years we came it was so hot. This is perfect.”

Nilles said she isn’t a huge bluegrass fan but she’s getting there. The Nilles’ started coming with friends who do like the music and she found the atmosphere relaxing and fun.

Rex Johnson of Greene County brought family with him, family that included a grandson, Colton Bittner, who is 7 and a great nephew, Hunter McKyver, who is 4.

“I hunted down in the area for years and heard about the Uprising in ads on the radio. I started coming four or five years ago. I always have a good time,” Johnson said.

Johnson likes the music. His favorite is bluegrass fiddling legend Sam Bush and he also liked the Hackinsaw Boys who performed Friday. Johnson said he also likes the atmosphere.

Pamela Allen came from Beaver Creek with her friend, Justin Keefe, and her chocolate lab, Bailey. As Bailey wandered by her side, Allen wandered into a canopy tent that served as a temporary storefront for one of the vendors. Her first trip to Uprising, Allen said she came for the music and camping and decided the trip had been worth the effort. She’ll be back.

“I think it’s great. There’s a load of happiness exploding out here in the middle of the woods,” Allen said. “I love it that my dog can be here and people don’t mind it, go in places and wander in and out and its okay. I think the music is so happy and there is nothing but good, positive feelings.”