The Hatterasity Bluegrass Festival will be returning to the Hatteras Village Civic Center from Thursday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 11, featuring last year’s crowd favorites and some new national acts that dyed in the wool bluegrass music fans are sure to appreciate.
“I’m so excited that Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen will be headlining for us on Saturday. I had a chance to watch the band perform up in Boston at the Jo Val Bluegrass Festival this past February, and they were awesome. Solivan and his group play a lot in the D.C. area, and they won the IBMA Instrumental Band Award last year, so that’s pretty cool. And Molasses Creek is going to jump on the ferry and come over from Ocracoke to join us on Friday, so there’s going to be a little something different each day for our audience,” said Pete Pappalardo, the event coordinator.
“We had Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass lined up. They’ve been great guys who helped the Pocono WinterFest get off the ground in East PA back in the ’90s. They got an offer to play the National Council for Traditional Arts Fest in Richmond, though, and that’s an honor that those boys really deserve and can’t pass up. So to help fill that slot, we reached out to Hickory Project, who have played down here several times, and they jumped at the chance to come down and play,” Pappalardo said.
Hickory Project plays everything from old jazz standards to scorching bluegrass and traditional Irish music and has toured nationwide and internationally. Anthony Hannigan is a National Mandolin champ, and his wife, Jillian, is an accomplished bass fiddle, penny whistle, flute and uke player with a flair for a torch song. David Cavage has been playing banjo with Hannigan since the ’70s when they were both 10. Cavage can play anything from straight Scruggs-style bluegrass licks to melodic styles and even, if you ask nicely, some classical music.
Also joining the Hatterasity lineup is the bluegrass duo Lynda Dawson and Pattie Hopkins, who hail from Raleigh. Dawson, like most of the bands and musicians performing, is a prolific singer/songwriter. Her work has been aired on the nationally syndicated PBS ” Song of the Mountains” and NPR’s “CarTalk,” and covered by Valerie Smith and Becky Buller.
Hopkins’ fiddle and vocals are steeped in bluegrass roots, and she received her music degree from East Carolina University. The pair collaborated on their most recent CD, “Traditional Duets,” which won rave reviews from Bluegrass Unlimited and others for its authentic instrumental and vocal styling. Both Dawson and Hopkins are also seasoned instructors and will be teaching the Bluegrass Kid’s Academy workshops, another addition to this year’s festival.
“We’re excited to be playing Hatterasity! We love performing as a duo, and I just came out with a kids’ CD. Pattie and I both have a passion for working with young people. We also love the Outer Banks and never waste an opportunity to get down there, so it will be a fantastic weekend, combining all these great things at one festival,” Dawson said.
The Kid’s Academy registration will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, with a Meet and Greet, followed by light refreshments at 7 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring their respective instruments for warm-ups with Dawson, Hopkins, and instrumentalists from other festival bands. Saturday, Kid’s Academy sessions begin at 9 a.m.
Participants will work with Dawson, Hopkins and others on bluegrass band skills, as well as a repertoire of songs that will be performed Sunday on the Main Stage. After lunch on Saturday, break-out sessions will be held for guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass and banjo students, with one more Academy Band practice session at 4 p.m.
“Mama Corn and Chad Darou and Stealing Time will be back again this year, along with my band, The Crop Circle Agents, and we are working on booking some additional local talent for the festival. The lads can’t wait to get back down to perform,” Pappalardo said.
“We had a blast last year, loved the island and the folks we met down there. It really is the coolest little festival on the Eastern Seaboard, just like the flier says. Doesn’t hurt that it’s only 50 feet from the beach, too!” Mama Corn’s banjo player, Jeremy Nelson, said.
There is still room for vendors and volunteers. Volunteers receive free admission and a T-shirt, and non-profit Hatteras organizations receive free display space. Commercial vendors can rent space at the festival. Rates are $50 for the weekend or $25 per day for a 10-by-10 space. Larger spaces are available at a pro-rata basis. One last twist on last year’s event is that the music will be outside and will be moved inside in case of inclement weather.
”Last year, with the generosity of our corporate sponsors, we helped to raise over $2,000 for the Cape Hatteras Methodist Men’s outreach and support programs. This year a portion of all proceeds will be donated to The Hatteras Village Medical Center,” Pappalardo said.
Early bird tickets are available for $40 for the festival if purchased before July 1, $45 before Aug. 1, and $60 thereafter. Thursday and Sunday tickets are $10 and tickets for Friday and Saturday and Sunday are $35. For further information, go to http://www.hatterasitybluegrass.com .
Kid’s Academy is available on a limited basis and costs $35 for the weekend. Those interested in purchasing tickets or registering for Kid’s Academy, as a vendor or as a volunteer can e-mail Pete Pappalardo at [email protected] or snail mail to Hatterasity, PO Box 581, Hatteras, NC 27943.
Island Free Press readers can receive an additional $5 off if tickets are ordered before June 1. Send check or money order made out to Hatteras Village Civic Association and write “Island Free Press discount” on the check.