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“It all began as a dream passed on from father to son and evolved into the largest bluegrass festival in the world.”

More than 100 bands travel to eastern Rowan County each third week of September to share their love of music.

This year, the Stevens Family presents the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, from Thursday, Sept. 17, until Saturday, Sept. 21.

Along with some of the most famous acts currently in bluegrass music, a diverse array of transportation will allow you to explore an entire world of bluegrass in over 1,400 acres of the beautiful hills of Kentucky.

With exciting lineups, the crowd swells to over 20,000 guests each year.

Traveling east from Morehead, Poppy Mountain first comes into view from the Tom T. Hall Highway (US 60) and as you pull off the road at the entrance at 80 Poppy Road, “you immediately feel the bluegrass spirit.”

Although the festival doesn’t officially start until next Thursday, music actually begins Friday.

This Friday and Saturday features acts such as Black Powder Express, Rock Bottom, Switchback, and Tony Pence.

More acts play on Tuesday and Wednesday including the Rowan County Ramblers, The Big Ugly Bluegrass Band, and Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap.

The official opening day features Sammy Adkins and the Sandy Hook Mountain Boys, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Sideline, and others.

Friday offers one of the more popular bluegrass bands in the county in Lonesome River Band. Larry Gillis, Salt and Light, Turning Ground, and Judge Talford Band will also perform.

Saturday is a star-studded lineup of Russell Moore and Third Tyme Out, Ralph II and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Hammertowne, Larry Gillis, and Don Rigsby and the Fly By Knights.

Wednesday through Saturday dozens of acts will also take place in the “yellow barn.”

All-week armbands for the festival are $140.

Daily prices are Tuesday and Wednesday the week of the festival, $20. Thursday is $30, $40 on Friday, and $50 on Saturday.

Camping is $20 daily or $200 until Sept. 22. Electric and water is free while hook ups last.

You surely won’t want to miss all the vendors while enjoying your stay at Poppy Mountain.

From JD’s Famous pork tenderloin sandwiches to Honest Ruthie’s wide selection of CDs, tapes, and even a few vinyl LPs besides the latest in hit bluegrass recordings, don’t leave the mountain without one of Mr. Clem’s fabulous Poppy Mountain souvenir T-shirts.

Typically, other food vendors offer ham and cheeseburgers, hot dogs, gyros, sausage, a variety of beverages, steak sandwiches, ice cream, and more.

Apparel will be sold such as T-shirts, pullovers, jackets, hats, caps, suspenders, and belts.

Crafted items such as blankets, ponchos, belts, and quilts will also be available.

A special Bluegrass Jamming Class, taught by Michelle Wallace using the Wernick Method, will be Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day. The cost is an additional $30 a session or $90 for the week.

ATVs and golf carts will be allowed as long as each owner signs a notarized affidavit acknowledging specific guidelines including being at least 16 years old to operate and waiving the rights of compensation for any and all accidents.

Campsites are beginning to fill up.

For those interested in camping, wishing to be a vendor, or hope to volunteer, contact Janie Stevens at 356-4567.

For more information on the festival, including specific groups and lineups, visit http://www.poppymountainbluegrass.com/.

Brad Stacy can be reached at bstacy@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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