Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

August 27, 2013

Laid-back fest offers many sounds

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The Metamora Old-Time Music Festival, slated for Aug. 31-Sept. 1, “will be the musical event of Labor Day weekend,” promises Steve Kristoff, Oldenburg, who schedules performances. With over 40 groups and solo acts on the schedule (http://metamoramusic.pbworks.com, click on 2013 schedule), “we are the largest live music event in the area,” reports Gail Ginther, Metamora, who organizes the Making Music area.

At the 15th annual weekend, the music will be “primarily acoustic,” he says. “We will have performers playing bluegrass, old-timey Appalachian style and folk music. Performers will also be including traditional country, blues and a fair amount of gospel in their sets. If it had a label, I would call it Americana.”

“We want to emphasize that this a free festival, including all the workshops. It’s a great time and place to hear music, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn some new music.”

Headliners are Magnolia Mountain, and Shiny and the Spoon. According to Kristoff, “If you’ve been around the Tristate traditional music scene for any time, you’ll recognize those bands.”

New groups keep the festival fresh. “We are very excited that the Whipstitch Sallies will be joining us this year. They have really been making a name for themselves around Indiana over the last couple of years. They play a beautiful high-energy bluegrass and old-time repertoire. We are also welcoming the Tadcasters from Cincinnati for the first time. They have earned a Cincinnati Entertainment Awards nomination for Bluegrass Artist of the Year. Their mix of traditional bluegrass with undertones of jazz and blues will be an excellent addition to our line-up.”

Also new are Rock Island Plow Co., Speeding West, The Repeating Arms, Will Kimble String Band, Year of the Buffalo, Greg Z’s Band, CPR Revival, James Funk, Jason Hathaway and Old Truck Revival, according to Ginther.

Different sounds are offered as frequently as every 40 minutes. Hours at Lane’s End Barn Back Porch, adjacent to the Whitewater Canal’s aqueduct east of Metamora, considered the main stage, are from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

Musicians will perform in the center of town at the Bane House, a two-story brick on Main Street; and the Wagon Stage in Duck Creek Crossing, a shopping area southwest of the village’s center, from 10:40 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10:40 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Musicians also are booked at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site Grist Mill. Sunday after an 11 a.m. performance, it’s the site of the popular Slow Jam starting at 1 p.m. According to Kristoff, “We want everyone who can play an instrument or sing or even just tap their toes to join us.”

Demonstrations, displays and workshops will be offered at the Making Music area along the Whitewater Canal from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. “Workshops will cover over a dozen subjects,” Ginther reports. New this year are Appalachian ballads, soda pop bottles, banjo history and songwriting discussions.

New in the instrument builders area are David Lynch with Sweet Woods Instruments, Anthony Freeman of Gralyn Guitars and Will Kimble Mandolins.

Hungry guests will have options. Metamora Lions will run a food concession at the Back Porch. A handful of Metamora restaurants will be open, too.

Listeners should bring chairs or blankets so they’re able to see the musicians. Free parking in a field by Lane’s End can be accessed off of U.S. 52 east of town.

Other volunteers include fest founders Jim and Connie Wendel, Al Rogers, Kevin Rose, Bill Hale and Geoff Ginther. Gail Ginther, an eight-year planner, notes, “We all continue to volunteer because it wouldn’t happen if we didn’t. We’re always are looking for new people to get involved.” Interested persons can contact her at metamora@gmail.com.

The Metamora Old-Time Music Festival is sponsored by Historic Metamora and supported by the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site; Metamora shopkeepers; Franklin County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission; and Indiana Arts Commission through funding administered by the Columbus Area Arts Council, a regional arts partner.

Because it’s a free festival, “we don’t make any money, we spend it. Any donations are gratefully accepted,” according to Ginther.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Extra family fun • The grist mill will be operating and horse-drawn canal boat rides can be enjoyed at noon-4 p.m. on the hour. Tickets are $2-$5 with toddlers and seniors 90+ free. Info: 765-647-6512. • Hikers can enjoy the scenery along the free Whitewater Canal Trail, which begins east of town. • Camping is available at Whitewater Valley Gateway Park, U.S. 52, Metamora. Info: 765-647-2541. • The Whitewater Valley Railroad will offer rides from the Connersville depot to Metamora at 12:01 p.m. both days. After a two-hour layover, the train will depart from Metamora at 3:30 p.m. Round-trip fares are $22 for adults and $14 for kids and one-way fares are $16 and $9. To make reservations: 765-825-2054 or www.whitewatervalleyrr.org.