Make us your home page

Move to Hernando allows Florida Bluegrass Classic to flourish

BROOKSVILLE— It's all about keeping it classic — classic country, classic cars and classic bluegrass.

It's a design that makes the Florida Bluegrass Classic stand out among other festivals on the bluegrass circuit and a reason why the 30-year-running festival moved to Hernando County.

"We moved (to Brooksville) after we outgrew our venue in Waldo," said event promoter Ernie Evans of Evans Media Source. "It was great. It was double our expectations."

And when the popular bluegrass festival opens Feb. 22 at Florida Classic Park, festival-goers will be in for a treat as two legendary country music artists hit the stage — Eddie Raven and Marty Raybon.

Raybon, a Grammy Award-winning singer, will give two performances Feb. 24. Although his wildly popular hit single Butterfly Kisses was recorded during a his brief stint as half of the Raybon Brothers duo, Raybon is known primarily as the lead singer of Shenandoah. Since the 1980s, the band has produced a number of hits, such as The Church on Cumberland Road, Two Dozen Roses and She Doesn't Cry Anymore.

Eddie Raven and the Country Grass Show will entertain on Feb. 25. With a Cajun influence, Raven is known for No. 1 hits such as I Got Mexico, Joe Knows How to Live and Shine, Shine, Shine. Raven has charted more than 35 singles since 1962, including 17 consecutive Top 10 hits between 1984 and 1990.

"We are bringing in bigger names," Evans said, "and we are already ahead of last year's ticket sales."

While the festival is officially scheduled from Feb. 22 to 26, campers may arrive as early as Feb. 20 and will be able to enjoy bingo, a potluck dinner and an open mic radio show on Feb. 21. A full lineup of 12 acts will entertain throughout the weekend, including groups such as the Gary Waldrep Band, Lorrain Jordan & Carolina Road and Remington Ryde — a band recently nominated for the Entertainer of the Year Award at the 2017 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America awards in Nashville.

There also will be a classic car show, guitar and banjo workshops, arts and crafts, food vendors and a gospel sing on the morning of Feb. 26.

Evans said that when the event moved to Hernando County last year, the festival not only brought its longtime bluegrass fans, but also drew new crowds from throughout Central Florida. The facility east of Brooksville allows for organizers to bring bigger artists such as Raybon and Raven, and Evans hinted at even bigger names for the 2018 festival.

"Our format is something that makes a big difference," he said. "It is not just the bluegrass, but also the classic country and the classic cars. All three contribute to the attendance."

>>if you go

The Florida Bluegrass Classic runs from Feb. 22 to 26 at Florida Classic Park, 5360 Lockhart Road, east of Brooksville. Weekend tickets are $65. Admission is free on Feb. 22 and 26. Individual day tickets are $25 each for Feb. 23 and 24 and $30 for Feb. 25. Children ages 11 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Camping prices are $11 for primitive sites; there is a three-night minimum for sites with electric at $25 (30 amp) and $30 (50 amp) per night. Visitors may bring chairs (no high-back or rocking chairs). For a complete schedule, visit the website at or call (904) 886-8378.

Move to Hernando allows Florida Bluegrass Classic to flourish 02/16/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  2. Channing Tatum drops out of Weinstein Co. movie about sex abuse


    LOS ANGELES — Channing Tatum is no longer developing a film with the Weinstein Co. that dealt with a boy dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse.

    Channing Tatum at the premiere of "Comrade Detective" in Los Angeles. Tatum is no longer developing a film with the Weinstein Company about a boy dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse. (Associated Press)
  3. Plan your weekend: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, MarineQuest, Florida Orchestra pops in the park, rodeo


    Plan your weekend


    Music weekend: Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and Bruno Mars all in one weekend? We have a playlist of a weekend coming up. Thursday brings Bruno's sold-out 24K Magic World Tour to Amalie Arena. The next day brings the country power …

    Bill Clark and Danelle Dasouqi admire the chalk art on the side walk during the final day of the three day Chalk Art Festival in Clearwater Beach. JIM REED/STAFF
  4. Ticket window: Harry Potter movie concert, Andrea Bocelli, Ed Sheeran, Iliza Shlesinger, Alan Parsons Project on sale this week

    Music & Concerts

    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

    British singer Ed Sheeran performs during the Italian State RAI TV program "Che Tempo che Fa", in Milan, Italy on March 12, 2017, 
AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
  5. 13 things to do in Tampa Bay on Oct. 19


    Bruno Mars: Get your Uptown Funk on at the Grammy-winning pop star's 24K Magic World Tour. 8 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$131.25. (813) 301-2500.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25:  Bruno Mars performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)