Smoky Mountain Banjo / Five String Fest Merger Creates Premier Banjo Gathering

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  - FIVE STRING FESTWhen Five-String Fest announced that they would be having one of the largest banjo gatherings in the country on May 1st -4th of 2014, they were informed that one of the best banjo academies in the country was scheduled for the same weekend.

What started has an oversight in scheduling has turned out to be the best thing that could have possibly happened.  The Five-String Fest was trying to find a perfect time to have their festival, and settled on the first week in May, hoping to keep some of the MerleFest attendees to stay an extra week in the North Carolina area.

The conflict in schedule was brought to their attention by Jack Hatfield, Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy Director, The Five-String Fest was making plans on having workshops, so the contact turned out to be exactly what was needed. The negotiations started between the two organizations and a plan was set in place.

“I am thrilled to merge my Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy with the new Five-String Fest to create what will undoubtedly be the most memorable banjo event in the world, in a beautiful region that has produced more great banjo players than any other, appropriately near the birthplace of the Father of Bluegrass banjo, said Hatfield.  "Never has this impressive a lineup of banjo talent been assembled in one place."

The three-fold approach of great performances, well-organized workshops for all skill levels and styles, and contests which will attract the nation’s best pickers...plus the nearby Earl Scruggs Center assure there will be something exciting for every attendee - every waking hour of the festival.

I look forward to working with Mr. Lockaby and his staff, the Elliot family and dozens of the world’s best banjo pickers to make Five-String Fest the event of a lifetime for any lover of banjo music," said Hatfield.

The full lineup will be announced the first week in December, and it will be at that time that the SMBA will be able to announce their list of instructors. They assure us that the instructors will be some of the best banjo players in the country.

“This will be our 3rd year of having festivals on the farm and this will be the Smoky Mountain Banjo Academies 9th year of having this particular academy," said John Lockaby, director of the Five String Fest.  "The Elliott’s and I are thrilled with this merger and will be going out of our way to be good hosts to this great academy.  With the academy, the festival, banjo competitions, and over 50 banjo vendors, this is surely going to be the premier banjo gathering in the country."

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