Bluegrass festival slated Saturday in Linwood

Beth Kornegay/Special to the Times
Sawyer and Violet Aipperspach are shown publicizing the Linwood Bluegrass Festival which is being held Saturday.

Are you ready for some bluegrass music?

The first-annual Linwood Bluegrass Festival is taking place Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. at the football field behind Linwood Elementary School, 215 Park in Linwood. The festival is being produced by Linwood Baptist Church and is a free community event. A large crowd is expected, and only attendees who reserve a free ticket are guaranteed entrance due to ongoing state coronavirus guidelines.  

Festival attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs and pets are permitted, as long as they are securely on a leash. Outside food is also allowed, but alcohol and smoking are not permitted. Several food trucks, many featuring a variety of barbecue foods, will be stationed in the area offering other dining options. In case of rain, the event will be moved inside to the school’s multipurpose gym.

To help with parking and traffic flow, parking attendants will help guide festival attendees to various satellite parking sites around the Linwood area with free shuttle transportation being provided to the festival grounds.

The festival is being planned for two specific reasons. Two years ago, a tornado hit Linwood and destroyed several homes and damaged dozens of others. The festival will honor the first responders and volunteers who worked to help the residents of Linwood in the aftermath and during the recovery.

Mark Clifton, festival coordinator, notes that the event is also being planned to help support the battle against human trafficking.

“We are featuring two well-known organizations that battle human trafficking,” Clifton said. “Restoration House KC operates safe recovery homes in the Kansas City metro area for victims of human trafficking, including one of the very few homes for underaged victims. In addition, Joy International focuses their efforts on stopping human trafficking overseas among some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

In addition to the bluegrass music, the event will also feature a one-mile “Barefoot Mile” in which participants can walk barefoot for one mile on the school’s track – if they choose. This symbolic trek is to identify with many children who are trapped in poverty and often are victims of human trafficking. Sponsorship and additional donations will be collected for these two organizations.  

The bluegrass music is set to begin at 1 p.m. with Greg Blake and Hometown. Blake has been awarded bluegrass flat top picker of the year several times and has also been nominated for the bluegrass vocalist of the year. After his performance, additional entertainment will be Magnolia Wind, who are regular performers at Silver Dollar City and the Branson area. The final act will be Mo Pitney, an up-and-coming star in country music.

Once the music is complete around 4:30 p.m., first responders and volunteers will be honored in a special ceremony reflecting on the heroic work accomplished since the tornado swept through Linwood on May 28, 2019.

“This event is a gift from the Linwood Baptist Church to our community. We believe the community should be noticeably better because the church is present. We couldn’t be more pleased to provide this to our community,” Clifton said. 

Free tickets and registration for the “Barefoot Mile” can be requested through the event’s website, www.linwoodbluegrass.com. More than 1,000 ticket requests have been received already.