Hoedown On The Harpeth, the only multi-day, camping roots music festival within 50 miles of Nashville, has stepped up its lineup for 2018.
The first two years of the Kingston Springs, TN event presented area artists known and respected in middle Tennessee, but who didn’t drive attendance sufficient to project a long term future for the October Hoedown. But organizers recently announced headlining slots by Chicago Americana star Robbie Fulks, bluegrass leaders the Travelin McCourys and elder statesman Peter Rowan, who this spring released the acclaimed new album Carter Stanley’s Eyes.
“I’ve always been a Peter Rowan fan from when I fell in love with bluegrass music,” said festival founder and promoter Robert Dunn. He’s a middle Tennessee native who’s long hosted picking parties and supported the area’s bluegrass and old time scene as a fan. But trends in mainstream country music motivated him to become a presenter and a preservationist.
“I really felt like it was king of being lost with time and I didn’t want to stand still and let that happen, and so we’re trying to capture the sounds of the past and the things that built country music - classic country music.”
Also on deck, an inaugural Hoedown all-star band featuring bluegrass virtuosos from Music City such as guitarist David Grier. Returning to the 2018 festival: a square dance, a fiddle contest, food vendors and campground picking.
“They have literally played music all night long,” Dunn said of the picking circles the last two years. “Watched the sun come up.”
The site - about 25 miles and 30 minutes drive from the center of Nashville - is Hayshed Farms, private land on a bend in Turnbull Creek near its juncture with the Harpeth River. A rocky bluff makes a natural backdrop to the stage. The event is timed for autumn colors and cool weather on October 12 and 13.