NEWTON, NC – The Foothills Folk Art Festival, to be held in Downtown Newton from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 1, will feature two stages with live music.
The Main Avenue Stage will showcase Still Pickin’ at 10 a.m., Sycamore Bones at noon, GMC Jazz Band at 2 p.m. and Triple Threat at 4 p.m.
The College Avenue Stage will feature Down the Hall at 10 a.m., Austin Rudisill at noon and The Sigmon Stringers at 2 p.m.
The festival is a partnership between Hickory Museum of Art and the Downtown Newton Development Association and is being hosted by the City of Newton. Catawba Valley Medical Center is the presenting sponsor.
In addition to music, the festival will feature more than 90 artists selling their art, food trucks, special activities for children, a pottery-making demonstration, and two beer gardens. Admission and parking are free.
The bands will perform a variety of music to get the audience’s toes tapping. Still Pickin’ is led by Danny Gabriel and includes Rick High, Stan Cronland, Rick Huffman, David Angel and Eddie Johnson. These musicians have toured with different bands throughout the years. They are now a group of good friends who get together to play for their own enjoyment and to perform at local events. Still Pickin’ has been performing at the festival since its beginning as the Lake Norman Folk Art Festival. They play progressive bluegrass and swing music.
Sycamore Bones brings a fresh take on Americana music, with influences ranging from bluegrass to folk to punk and alternative rock. The group’s primary songwriters and vocalists are Cory Kinal (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Andrew Massey (bass and vocals). They work in tandem to deliver heartfelt energetic songs. They are joined by Jason Barr on guitar and Ian Haas on drums. Learn more about the band at www.sycamorebonesband.com.
The GMC Jazz Band is a trio made up of Guy Rudisill of Lincolnton on sax, Chris Heavner of Iron Station on keyboard and keyboard bass, and Mike Sherrill of Newton on drums. Rudisill and Heavner have played extensively in the area with combos and big bands. Sherrill plays with local groups and hosts North Carolina’s longest-running weekly jazz show, Jazz Trackin’, on Sunday nights on WNNC. The band plays a variety of familiar jazz tunes from the World War II era and beyond.
Down the Hall performs contra dance and traditional mountain music on fiddle, flute and keyboard. Members are Bob Kogut on fiddle, Suzanne Williams on flute and banjo, and Denise Baxter-Yoder on keyboard. The trio has played together for years in the band Puddingstone, and they each freelance in the area. Bob Kogut also makes custom violins from his workshop in Happy Valley. Joining the group for this event is drummer David Abernethy.
Singer-songwriter Austin Rudisill hails from Durham by way of Albemarle. Performing live since 2008, he was originally a member of the Raleigh-based band Clay Pigeons, but is now mainly a solo act. Rudisill draws influences from a wide range of artists, from Gram Parsons and John Prine, to The Band and the Rolling Stones. His music can be found at www.soundcloud.com/austinrudisill.
The Sigmon Stringers is a three-generation bluegrass band from Newton. The original band members, Clinton Sigmon, and his two sons, Randy and Mark, and lifelong friend Ray Barger have been performing since the early 1970s. They performed with bluegrass pioneers such as Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Jimmy Martin and Ralph Stanley. The group has now added a third generation. Randy’s daughter Anna plays banjo and Mark’s children—Beau, Mollie and Maggie—complete the band. The award-winning band has played many venues on the east coast, including MerelFest.