Poor Farm Blue Grass Festival, First time Ever

Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Matt Ratcliffe , of the Bolar Volunteer Fire Department about the Poor Farm Bluegrass Festival coming up in just a few weeks. It will on July 23rd on Poor Farm Road, a little southwest of Bolar.   So what can festival goers look forward to?

“We’re going to have a real good show, a real good time for everyone, the gates will open at 9 am, and that’s when the vendors will set up. Pretty much everything will start about 12 pm.  We’ll have vendors selling the flea market items. We’re going to have crafters. We’re going to have bouncy houses for the little ones. And, we’re also going to have a corn-hole tournament with cash prizes going to first, second and third. We’ve had a lot of support through local businesses helping us out to do this.

This is going to be our first annual Bluegrass festival here in Bath County, and we’re hoping to have a good show. We’ve got a good line up of entertainers. Course like I said, the music is going to start about 3pm and go ‘til about 9pm.”

Then Matt gave us the line up for the whole afternoon and evening.

At 3pm, Southern Rail Express, our local band, with Willie Smith and Kenny Lowry and David Canady. They’re going to be playing at 3pm. 4pm is going to be a real treat. We got a brother and sister duo from Hacker’s Valley West Virginia.

She can tear that banjo up. I can tell you that. She plays the Earls Scruggs style. Her name’s Marteka, and his name’s William. And he plays with the old thumbpick, just like Lester Flatt did. They’re going to play at 4pm. And at 5pm, we’re going to have Allen Mills and Lost and Found. They’re going to take the stage. And at 6pm, we got a group coming all the way from Virginia Beach. They’re called the Brackish Water Jamboree. They play Appalachian Folk Music. A lot of people’s called them the Blue Grass Beach Boys. At 7pm we’re going to have a group from Roanoke Virginia, and some of the band members from Craig County called Wound Tight. They’re a hard driving Blue Grass band also, and then back again at 8pm on stage we’re going to have Allen Mills and Lost and Found again.

I’m imagining this event will draw musicians and listeners from a very large area.

Are there some places around the area we can buy tickets ahead of time?

Yes, here in Bath County, Warm Springs Market will be selling them, Hot Springs Pharmacy, Valley Supermarket, Bath County Chamber of Commerce, Mountain Grove General Store, Oak Ridge Station, and the Hairstyling Shop. Now, in Covington, Petticoat Junction and Neathawk Lumber will be selling it. In Highland County, you got Fast Break, WVLS radio Station, and Stonewall Grocery in McDowell. And then over in Marlinton, West Virginia, you got C.J. Richardson.

My memories of music festivals include live music everywhere, not just on the stage, and Matt confirmed traditions haven’t changed since “back in the day”.

“Aw yeah, there’s going to be a lot of, lot of jam sessions going on. If you’re a picker, throw the instrument in the vehicle with you, and head on over and see us. We’re also doing over night camping, Friday night, and Saturday night. We’ll have porta –johns, water stations and all that good stuff to accommodate the folks. And if you need to get hold of me, my number is 540-679-0385. “

There’s also plenty of information, photos of the artists and samples of their music on the Poor Farm Bluegrass Music Festival page on Facebook.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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