FRIDAY NIGHT BLUEGRASS CONCERT KICKS OFF BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL

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The Texas Blueberry Festival kicks off with the Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at Festival Plaza in downtown Nacogdoches.

Rex Perry Autoplex is sponsoring Friday’s family-friendly bluegrass concert that will feature four well-known musical acts: Catahoula Drive, The Purple Hulls, The Jeff Robertson Band and El Camino Real.

The toe-tapping fun continues with Pickin’ on the Square from 11 am to 2 pm, Saturday, June 8, in the Regions Bank Community Room and the City Hall Meeting Room. Bluegrass musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and jam with new friends in air-conditioned comfort.

THE ACTS

East Texas bluegrass lovers may recognize Catahoula Drive, a Pineville, La. four-piece band, from the first two Blueberry Bluegrass Concerts in the Park. Band members are Jamey Alwell, (guitar and vocals), Dennis Stewart (mandolin and vocals), and Tres Nugent (string bass and vocals) and Devon Avery (banjo and vocals).

The Purple Hulls are identical twins Katy Lou and Penny Lea Clark. The Clark sisters were raised on a working family farm in Kilgore and they paid for college with money from the family’s purple hull harvest. After graduation, they moved to Nashville, where they began touring with various country artists and writing songs for Nashville’s largest publishing company, Sony Tree. The sisters returned home in 2012 to care for their terminally ill father and they stayed in East Texas after he passed away, helping their mother with the farm while continuing their music career. The Purple Hulls have spent the first few months of 2019 touring Europe, and will return to the United States just in time for their third appearance at the Blueberry Bluegrass Concert.

The Jeff Robertson Band plays traditional bluegrass, gospel and some rousing classic country performed bluegrass-style. Robertson is a guitar maker in Bastrop who plays with seasoned pickers from all over Texas. They made their Nacogdoches debut at last year’s Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park.

El Camino Real is a group of Nacogdoches musicians who gather weekly to play traditional acoustic music. Charlie Jones plays fiddle, mandolin and clawhammer banjo, Jon Hall plays guitar, mandolin and sings, Craig Smith sings, plays guitar, mandolin and banjo uke, Mark McLain plays bass, and Robbie Lacomb-Roach and Chris Barker are the percussionists. They are regulars at Steve Hartz’s Old Time Mercantile and String Shop Saturday sessions and have been playing for more than thirty years.

FOOD, PARKING AND MORE

The concert will also feature food vendors, including some local farmer’s market favorites selling homemade items, as well as catfish, barbecue, corn dogs, fried green tomato sandwiches, vegetarian options, soft drinks, blueberry lemonade and lots of water. Organizers encourage attendees to bring blankets and lawn chairs. The event is family-friendly, so no coolers or alcohol will be allowed.

Parking will be available downtown. However, some downtown streets will be closed due to the Blueberry Festival, so concert-goers are urged to visit www.tbf.nacogdoches.org or www.facebook.com/bluegrassnac/ for parking instructions. Parking with free shuttle service to the concert venue will be available at First Baptist Church, 411 North St. Parking at the venue will be at the Nacogdoches City Garage location at 114 W. Cox St.

Organizers are grateful for the enthusiastic partners that make the concert possible, especially Rex Perry Autoplex, the City of Nacogdoches and the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Texas Blueberry Festival presented by Tipton Ford continues Saturday with a full day of activities in downtown Nacogdoches, including a Blueberry pancake breakfast, competitions and more live entertainment. For more information, visit tbf.nacogdoches.org/ or call 936-560-5533.

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