Annual Bill Williams Music Festival upcoming

By Portia Williams

September 5, 2013

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The sixth annual Bill Williams Heritage Music Festival is set to convene at the Greenbo Lake State Park Saturday, Sept. 7, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The event honoring the legacy of Greenup County musician, Bill Williams.

According to Anne Stephens, University of Kentucky Extension Agent for Fine Arts, the event is very important to the community.

“This festival is important because it brings people of all backgrounds together to enjoy music and the beauty of our state park. Music brings people together,” Stephens said.

In addition to honoring Williams’s legacy, Stephens said the festival is about celebrating cultural.

“Honoring the legacy of a Greenup County musician, Bill Williams, gives our community a reason to celebrate our cultural heritage. Our local talent is one of our strong points and we want to inspire people to make music and enjoy music. It is a family friendly event that is close to home. And it’s free,” Stephens said.

This is the sixth year for the event that honors the legacy of Bill Williams, who moved from Virginia to Greenup, Ky. and lived there his entire life while raising a family and playing the guitar.

The festival will include live music at the amphitheater, ending the 2013 Summer Music Series at Greenbo with a focus on blues.

According to Stephens, Williams was known throughout the local area as a great blues guitarist who encouraged other guitarists. Williams was also known for having a passion for music that shows today in his granddaughter, Laura Gentry.

Gentry currently resides in Cincinnati, where she lives out her love of music as a jazz promoter.

She has organized many festivals in Cincinnati with world-renowned musicians and lends her expertise to the Greenup County Extension Arts Council as the lead volunteer on the Williams Festival.

Greenup Arts is a group that works under Fine Arts Programming at the Greenup County Extension Office in order to promote community economic development through the arts.

Admission for the Col. Bill Williams Heritage Music Festival is free, and low-cost concessions are available on site.

The headlining artist this year is Jay Flippin. Flippin has won many awards for his jingle writing and an Emmy for his music that has been used in TV.

He has also had music in movies and is the arranger/accompanist for the Lexington Singers, as well as taught piano, theory, music history, and music composition at Morehead State University for many years while also traveling and performing.

The first performers are from the South Shore end of Greenup County, Brandon and Justin Vansickle. The Vansickles both play guitar and adds some percussion.

Downtown King, made up of Jeremy Short, Mike Parker, Chris Justice, and Steve Barker is the winner of the 2013 Battle of the Bands at Greenbo – also a part of Greenup Arts programming.

Their winning performance was in the musical genre of the blues, which made the organizers want to invite them back for the blues festival. Spotlighting local talent is one of the missions of Greenup Arts.

The next featured band will be composed of local musicians featuring Tom Stephens, Isaac Stephens, Chris Kitchen, Brooks Callihan, and Greenup native Dave McWhorter from Lexington.

Also returning to the Greenbo stage is Tracy Walker, vocalist/guitarist from Cincinnati who was part of this festival in its fourth year. Larry Whitt and his band, Blue Eyed Soul, will be making a stop at Greenbo after their long summer tour all over the Tri-State area.

For information regarding reservation at Greenbo Lodge, call 606-473-7234. For information regarding the upcoming Heritage Music Festival contact Anne Stephens, Extension Agent for Fine Arts in Greenup County at 606-836-0201 or anne.stephens@uky.edu. Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.