Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival: June 5-6

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Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival in Dunlap, TN. Photo credit: Dunlap Coke Ovens Park & Museum

Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival:  June 5-6, 2015 in Dunlap, TN

One of the best little bluegrass festivals in Southeast Tennessee will take place June 5-6, 2015, at the historic Dunlap Coke Ovens Park & Museum in Dunlap, Tennessee.

The two-day Dunlap Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival is in its 29th year of celebrating traditional bluegrass music of the Sequatchie Valley and Southeast Tennessee.

This year’s lineup of regional musicians includes: Banjo-Rama, Cannon Creek, Cedar Ridge, Connection 27, Cumberland Band, Davenport Brothers, Fredonia Bluegrass, Fox Mtn. Express, Roy Harper, Avery Trace, and Valley Grass Express.

Ed Brown, Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival organizer and musician, overlooking the Sequatchie Valley.  Photo credit: Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development
Ed Brown, Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival organizer and musician, overlooking the Sequatchie Valley. Photo credit: Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development

“We are trying to uphold the acoustic string music tradition of the Sequatchie Valley,” said Ed Brown, a musician with The Cumberland Band and a member of the Sequatchie Valley Historical Association, which plans and facilitates the event. “The amphitheater at the Dunlap Coke Ovens Park and Museum has exceptional sound.”

Performances will begin at 6 p.m. (CST) Friday, June 5, and at 1 p.m. (CST) Saturday, June 6, at the park’s main amphitheater, which is constructed from old railroad timbers. Audience members should bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the sounds of the fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass in the park’s historic woodland setting.

Jackie Miller, who has played with Ronnie Reno, will lead a fiddle workshop at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 6 (CST). A five-string Gold Star banjo will be given away Saturday evening.

During the event, visitors are encouraged to explore the 88-acre Dunlap Cove Ovens Park and Museum, which preserves the remains of 268 beehive coke ovens that were part of a former coal mining operation that dates back to 1899.

The park’s museum houses the largest collection of regional historic coal mining photographs in the state of Tennessee and features hundreds of mining artifacts, as well as historical objects common to the early settlers of Sequatchie County and Dunlap.

Visitors are also encouraged to walk along the historic roadbed at the park that was used during the Trail of Tears and the Civil War.

The Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival is a family-friendly event. Pets and alcohol are not allowed. Camping spaces are provided on a first-come-first-served basis. RV parking reservations are available by calling 423-949-3483.

For more information, visit CokeOvens.com or call 423-949-3483 or 423-949-2294.

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