Hot Springs, Madison County Arts Council celebrate community efforts at Bluff Mountain Festival, June 10

Photo courtesy of the Madison County Arts Council
Photo courtesy of the Madison County Arts Council

From event promoters:

The Bluff Mountain Festival

Foot-tapping bluegrass and old-time music, a silent auction of beautiful regional items, an artists’ market, good food, a beautiful setting, and much more make the Madison County Arts Council’s Bluff Mountain Festival a special community event.  This year’s annual festival will be held Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Hot Springs, N.C. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs for seating in front of the stage and in the shade of elegant magnolias.

This year will bring the 22nd edition of the Bluff Mountain Festival! Started to unify the community in support of the efforts to preserve Bluff Mountain, this year’s festival celebrates that milestone effort as well as a renewed vision of community involvement and public resolve. The festival is a fundraiser for the Madison County Arts Council featuring regional and national performers who donate their time. The festival seeks to showcase local talent as well as performers visiting the area.

This year’s lineup is complete with artists who have helped the festival flourish over the past two decades. Ballad singer Betty Smith, master fiddler Roger Howell, The Green Grass Cloggers, ballad singer and songwriter Joe Penland, The Stoney Creek Boys, the Midnight Plowboys, and the popular Madison County Ballad Singers, who showcase the living history of our place and our songs.

Featured this year will be songwriter, Kate Campbell. “Kate sings about everything Southern,” says Laura Boosinger, Director of the Madison County Arts Council. Originally, from the Mississippi Delta and the daughter of a Baptist preacher, Kate’s formative years were spent in the very core of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart and character as well as her songwriting. “She provides a modern voice in the civil rights movement,” Boosinger adds. “Her song, Crazy in Alabama, has become a 21st century anthem.”

This year’s festival will recognize and commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI encampment of German soldiers in Hot Springs. In May 1917, the town of Hot Springs had a population of 650 but soon the number would increase with the addition of almost 2200 German prisoners. The Mountain Park Hotel had been a thriving business until the outbreak of World War I when travel to the hotel slowed considerably. The owner Col. Rumbough negotiated a contract with the War Department to house Germans, most of whom were civilians and comprised of the crews of the German commercial ships that had taken cover in American ports when Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914.

Included in the group were members of a German orchestra as well as the crew of the world’s largest ship, the “Vaterland.” Because they were civilians, they could not be called “prisoners’ of-war” but were named “enemy aliens” by the Department of Immigration. Consequently, 2200 passengers, officers and crewmembers came by train to Hot Springs and spent the remaining 19 months of the war in the internment camp. Terry Roberts, the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award winner, will read from his novel A Short Time to Stay Here, his award-winning novel of the community based on actual people and events.

Artist vendor booths are a newer addition to the Bluff Mountain Festival. Each year our artist market features a wide variety of art and craft and provides a one-of-a-kind shopping opportunity. In keeping with the fundraising theme, most artists will be donating a piece of their work and a portion of their sales to the popular silent auction. Food vendors from local non-profits will sell a selection of home-cooked delights, as part of the festival’s longtime mission, to be a both catalyst and meeting point for community togetherness, friendship, and support.  

This is a great event,” remarks Boosinger.  “For 22 years now folks have looked forward to a family-friendly day of good music and fellowship. We are honored to serve the residents and non-profits of Madison County with the production of this well-loved event.”  Last year over 70 volunteers, nearly 50 performers, and more than 100 artists, craftspeople, and local businesses made the festival possible. Behind the scenes, volunteers are already hard at work to make the 22nd Annual Bluff Mountain Festival a great celebration.

For more information please contact:

The Madison County Arts Council
PO Box 32
Marshall, NC 28753
(828) 649-1301

About Max Hunt
Max Hunt grew up in South (New) Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. History nerd; art geek; connoisseur of swimming holes, hot peppers, and plaid clothing. Follow me @J_MaxHunt

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.