Longbranch Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival a hit with feet, bellies

It’s something I was born with, what you get is what you see,
I’m just an old hillbilly with a bluegrass song to sing…

The crowd erupted when Nicole Johnson of the Bluegrass Minstrels belted those words from Loretta Lynn’s classic “Country in my Genes.”

It was that kind of an afternoon at the 4th Annual Longbranch Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival on the Key Peninsula Saturday.

“This is a great way to get the community together,” said an ebullient John Day, pastor of the Longbranch Community Church.

He wasn’t kidding.

At least 200 people went through the double doors at the Longbranch Improvement Club’s century-old house at the southern tip of the Key Peninsula for the church fundraiser.

They were mostly here for the music of The Day Brothers, the Key Peninsula’s Bluegrass Minstrels and Coyote Hill Bluegrass of Vinita, Oklahoma.

“Just having a great time with some great food and with great people,” Day said.

Others came for chef Oliver Coldeen’s barbecue sandwiches — beef or chicken — served up with the chef’s famous cole slaw.

“We heard about the festival going on, and we came down to check it out,” Lakebay’s Lorna Stith said, under the shade of a white tent.

And how is Stith liking her first bluegrass festival so far?

“I like how the community is coming together, and I like how the different people interact. It’s pretty cute,” she said.

Seated next to Stith was Christopher Duncan, another bluegrass and barbecue festival neophyte.

“I think it’s pretty interesting,” Duncan said of the bluegrass being played. “I’m new to this music genre.”

Normally he said he listens to classic rock, but the music being played inside the historic house was slowly growing on him.

“I’m slowly getting used to it,” he added.

Others were not as bashful, dancing in the aisles between rows of folding chairs as the band from northern Oklahoma covered a pop music favorite “Wagon Wheel.”

All in all, the church ladies selling tickets by the double doors were all smiles.

“Business is great,” the duo replied when asked how things were going.

Judging from the many happy feet in the room, they weren’t just whistling Dixie.


Coyote Hill Bluegrass performing at last year's festival.
Coyote Hill Bluegrass performing at last year’s festival.

Meet The Day Brothers: Legacy of Song all a Day’s Work

The boys from Vinita, Oklahoma: Coyote Hill Bluegrass

2 thoughts on “Longbranch Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival a hit with feet, bellies

  1. As the officially knighted Groupie # 1 for the Bluegrass Minstrels, nobody does bluegrass better than the minstrels in my book. I was always a bit bored with BG but they have such energy and joy in what they do I am now a fan. The event was a blast. Thanks for the write-up. sorry I am just now seeing it.

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