If it hadn’t been for the inaugural Charleston Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, Keith Luckie probably would have gone to the movies. He was really glad he didn’t.
“We were going to see ‘The Hunger Games.’ This or ‘The Hunger Games?’ This won out and I have no regrets,” said Luckie, who came with his two sons, Garris, 9, and Fuller, 7, and about six friends.
“I’m a big music fan. It’s great weather and we’re having a good time,” added Luckie, as his sons, sitting nearby, polished off two massive Sno-cones.
The inaugural Charleston Bluegrass Festival, which started Friday, lucked out in its own way. Rare rain and cold on Thursday yielded to the sun and rising temperatures Friday and the gorgeous spring weather returned in full on Saturday.
Hundreds of people streamed in and out of the grounds behind Sewee Outpost in Awendaw to hear both bluegrass and bluegrass-tinged music in the event, which was organized by Surf Bar’s Perry Darby, Awendaw Green’s Eddie White and Sewee Outpost’s Brooks Geer.
Darby, a longtime bluegrass fan, has dreamed about holding a bluegrass festival in Charleston for years.
“Charleston is a great destination and there was no reason it shouldn’t have its own bluegrass festival,” said Darby, who was inspired by regular attendance of MerleFest, a major bluegrass festival held in North Carolina in late April every year.
The Charleston Bluegrass Festival, Darby added, will be one of two that the group of men wants to put on every year. The other they hope to call Halfway to MerleFest and hold it sometime in the fall, possibly October.
Both Friday and Saturday, local bands — including the teacher troupe of Gravel Road Acoustic Trio — joined others from regional music hot spots, — including Nashville, Athens and Asheville — for the two-day festival. The event went deep into the night both Friday and Saturday.
The recent passing of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs was noted by several of the performers. The band, Town Mountain, played a short tribute to him on Friday night.
White, who holds “barn jams” every Wednesday night at the adjacent Awendaw Green, was pleased with the turnout at the inaugural festival.
“It’s so great to see parents and kids of all ages just enjoying being outside, listening to music on a beautiful spring day,” said White. “After the Bridge Run, everyone was so worn out that people just want to sit in chairs and do next to nothing.”