The concert will be held at Coleman Hawkins Park at Felix Street Square in downtown St. Joseph, MO on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22, 2012.
The festival is free and open to the public. Patrons are encouraged to bring non-perishable food and cash donations to support the Second Harvest Community Food Bank.
The event is being sponsored by several business organizations in the St. Joseph community, including the event’s Presenting Sponsor, Vintage Home Health.
On Friday, Mountain Sprout, Whiskey for the Lady and Tyler Gregory will take the stage. On Saturday, The HillBenders, The Souveneers, Famous Seamus and the Travelbongs, Under The Big Oak Tree, Sean Cleary & Tracy Huffman, and Chambers Music will perform.
The HillBenders have been winning over audiences from coast to coast with their unique style, original compositions and relentless drive. These buzz-worthy bluegrass whiz-kids are quickly rising above many of their peers and gaining international recognition for their aggressive combination of contemporary influences with traditional inspiration and instrumentation, as well as their infectiously energetic stage performances.
Claiming the championship title at the 2009 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition helped put The HillBenders on the map, and their recent victory at the 2010 National Single Microphone Championships prove that they continue to be a force to be reckoned with. The HillBenders have become a must-see act with appearances at some of the country’s premiere music events such as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fan Fest, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Walnut Valley Festival, Mullberry Mountain Harvest Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and Bar-B-Q festival and many more.
Formed in the spring of 2008, the band’s members hail from distant corners of the U.S. but now base themselves in Springfield, Missouri. Rooted in the traditions of bluegrass, The HillBenders push the boundaries of the genre by combining influences from country, rock, blues, jazz and Americana into their sound to produce something entirely new. Some say it’s newgrass, some say it’s bluegrass, some say it’s neither, but everyone says that whatever it is, it’s incredible!
Mountain Sprout is a highly energetic hillbilly music group from Arkansas, featuring original tunes with witty lyrics and tremendous musicianship. Mountain Sprout performs around 250 shows a year, including music festivals, concert halls and smaller venues. From opening up for national icon Willie Nelson, Yonder Mountain String Band and legendary Leon Russell, Mountain Sprout is truly a crowd favorite.
Guitarist Tyler Gregory is a busker who frequents many Kansas City and Lawrence venues like the Record Bar and the Replay Lounge. However, he has also become a favorite addition to music festivals across the country as his rich sound takes cues from World War II-era blues bellowers like Leadbelly and Son House.
Gregory drew national media attention earlier this year when one of his everyday street performances turned into an extraordinary moment. The guitarist was belting out a tune when he captured the attention of a young blind boy with autism, who slowly approached Gregory and put his hand on his guitar. Slowly, the boy began bobbing his head as Gregory continued with the song, seemingly unfazed by his strong attraction to the beat. The boy’s parents captured the footage and uploaded it to Youtube. The touching video, called “Jacob and the Guitar Man,” has now been viewed by more than 500,000 people.
Local quintet Whiskey for the Lady may play traditional and modern bluegrass, but its members don’t hide from their love of various musical styles. Violinist Mallory Edson brings her classical training to the group, while she and her brother Robbie Edson, who plays guitar, grew up on folk music. Phil Craven (mandolin), Ricky Deal (banjo) and Brad Price (bass) come from a heavier background, which comes out as the group plays very unique Tool and Nine Inch Nails covers. But it’s in their originals — like the rough-edged, foot-stomping “Beautiful Things,” “Courteous Lies” and “Wrong Road” — that the variety of influences is most apparent. Songwriting is a collective effort, and the members’ varied perspectives take their music to unexpected places.
St. Joseph four-piece Under the Big Oak Tree features wonderful vocalist Kristin Hamilton; fiddler Simon Fink, who teaches music composition at the collegiate level; bassist Doug “Sluggo” Ward, a veteran of the St. Joseph music scene; and banjo player Rocky Cathcart, a doctor by day. From the band’s spirited originals to bluegrass covers of Gillian Welch and The Avett Brothers, Under the Big Oak Tree’s sets are marked by a homey, front porch vibe that brings back memories of singing around the campfire.
These are just some of the bands performing at what is sure to be a spectacular event. Bluegrass Battles Hunger is free to attend and patrons are encouraged to bring a food or cash donation to support the Second Harvest Community Food Bank. The Second Harvest Community Food Bank supports hunger relief agencies in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas. Second Harvest Community Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is the area’s link between an abundant food supply and people in need. Last year’s event was successful in raising over $1,600 and 1,500 pounds of food in support of the food bank’s efforts.
Food and concessions will be available to patrons of the event. More information can be found at Bluegrass Battles Hunger’s website: www.bluegrassbattleshunger.com. Mark your calendars now for what is sure to be a tremendous event, all for a great cause.
Famous Seamus and the Travelbongs
Whiskey for the Lady
Under The Big Oak Tree