Luttrell Music Festival Returns Sept. 8

Virginia Faith was the winner of the 2016 Luttrell Music Festival kids music competition.

After a one-year hiatus, the Luttrell Music Festival is back, set for 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at Luttrell City Park. Chairing the event once again is Mayme Taylor, Luttrell resident and festival founder.

The festival got its start in 2009, originally called Luttrell Bluegrass Festival, but Taylor said "by popular demand" the name was changed to reflect the wide variety of music offered.

"I started it because when (my husband and I) came to this area and started visiting churches, you go in a church house and the windows are shaking from the awesome music," Taylor said. "We were just taken aback by the musical talent in this area. I thought this talent needs an avenue to showcase the talent."

The city of Luttrell got on board, and the festival started out with a $500 budget, and as it got bigger that contribution grew, not just from the city but from sponsors and grants. This year's sponsors are City of Luttrell, Carmeuse, Sexton Furniture Manufacturing and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

But the festival isn't just about music. It also helps support Luttrell Volunteer Fire Department. Taylor said the festival isn't a fundraiser, but vendors are asked to give 10 percent of their proceeds to Luttrell VFD, and the festival doesn't carry funds over from year to year, instead donating any surplus after expenses to the fire department.

"They're out here helping the community on a skeleton budget," said Taylor.

Another aspect that Taylor treasures is the kids music competition, an opportunity for young musicians to gain recognition. Two past winners will return to the Luttrell Music Festival stage this year: Bobby Mink and Chris Muncey of Narrow Way.

"These kids are now growing up and the circle's coming full circle," said Taylor. "They're still making music. I'm just thrilled to death. I just love watching these kids grow up and still practice music."

In response to public requests, the festival is making an effort to attract bigger acts. This year, country music band Ricochet will headline the festival, and because of the big-name draw, Taylor anticipates a bigger turnout than most years. Attendees should bring a chair or blanket, as the festival is lawn seating.

The festival opens at 4 p.m., with David West and the Ciderville Gang taking the stage at 4:30 p.m., followed by Chris Muncey and Narrow Way at 5:30, and the kids competition at 6:30. Ricochet will take the stage after the kids competition is complete.

There will be food and craft vendors and activities on the festival grounds, including a trackless train from Luttrell VFD for the kids, hamburgers and hot dogs from Mountain View Church of God, Uncle Butch's BBQ, and a bake sale from the Luttrell Seniors. Mountain View Church of God is also offering parking at their church with shuttle service.

Lee Carver is heading up the cruise-in at the festival. Participation is free, and some prizes will be awarded.

Volunteers of all ability levels are needed, and sign-ups for the kids competition are ongoing. For information, visit the festival's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Luttrell-Music-Festival-173629072818850/.

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