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Charlie Poole is moving!


The Charlie Poole Music Festival will be held on the campus of Rockingham

Community College during the summer of 2018. This event, which celebrates

the rich heritage of Rockingham County’s native son, has enjoyed over 20

years of success presenting local, regional, and national talent in the Governor

John Motley Morehead Park located in the historic Spray section of Eden. In

order to adequately prepare for this exciting move, there will not be a festival

in 2017.


Piedmont Folk Legacies serves as the parent organization of the festival and

looks forward to increased participation from throughout the county as plans

are made to enhance and support this celebration of our cultural heritage.

Bookmark www.charlie-poole.com or like us on Facebook for updates.









Charlie Poole Festival to Feature the African Origins of the Banjo


The African origins of the banjo will be one of the prominent themes during the exciting Friday night concert at this year’s Charlie Poole Music Festival, to be held June 10-11 in Eden, North Carolina.  Mali, West Africa, musician Cheick Hamala Diabate will showcase his mastery of both the n’goni (the African ancestor of the banjo) and the modern banjo.  Also headlining the performance this year will be master clawhammer banjoist, Bob Carlin.  Both Carlin and Diabate will receive this year’s CPMF Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2007 they collaborated on the Grammy-nominated album “From Mali to America,” and will perform on Friday night both separately and together, in a reflection of the important careers of both entertainers.


Another featured performer will be Seth Swingle, last year’s winner of the CPMF Old-Time Three Finger Banjo Championship.  Seth, as a Fulbright Scholar, has studied under Diabate, and will join him and Carlin, as, among the three of them, they perform singularly and together for a full evening of rich traditional music.  As if that were not enough, leading off the Friday evening concert will be the highly popular old time band from Greensboro, NC, The Zinc Kings.  The dance floor will be down and ready for everyone to kick up their heels and enjoy.


Once the dust settles on Friday night’s event, the festival continues, bright and early on Saturday, with the highly respected contests featuring youth vocal and instrument, and individual adult categories in multiple acoustic instruments and vocal, plus old-time and bluegrass band categories.  The evening is capped off with the Old Time Three-Finger Banjo Championship, and, by popular demand, there will be an “open mic” interlude while everyone waits for the votes to be counted and the winners announced.  All of this happens in the very neighborhood where Charlie Poole lived and worked, when he wasn’t out rambling and making world-changing music back in the 1920s and 30s. 


For those musicians, young and old and all points between, who wish to brush up on their skills or learn new techniques, there will be several special workshop offerings on Saturday, during the festival.  For young folks, there will be a Youth Band Workshop offered, with a special opportunity for participants to perform onstage at its conclusion.  And, for the banjo enthusiasts attending, whatever their genre, three different workshops will focus on the three different playing styles featured at the Charlie Poole Festival.  Seth Swingle, reigning champion of the Old Time 3-Finger Banjo contest will present that style in an afternoon workshop; Don Wright will present bluegrass style banjo; and, Riley Baugus will offer his expertise in clawhammer style banjo. 


Food and other vendors will be on site for the festival, with lots of home-cooked treats and handmade treasures.  Visitors are encouraged to bring their own chairs.  Assistance is available for those who need help in getting into the venue.  Camping is free to festival goers.  Tickets are $15 for Friday night’s concert; $15 for all day Saturday; or $25 for a weekend pass.  This project is supported by the N.C. Arts Council and the Rockingham County Arts Council, as well as the Rockingham County Partnership for Economic and Tourism Development, and the City of Eden Tourism Development.  For more information, you may call 336-623-1043 or email Charlie-Poole@embarqmail.com







MARC and the Charlie Poole Festival Join Forces to Explore the African Origins of the Banjo


Make plans to attend a special program at the MARC on June 9th, as the museum and Piedmont Folk Legacies join together for a special presentation in anticipation of the 21st annual Charlie Poole Music Festival on June 10th and 11th. A special feature of the festival each year is the presentation of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, this year going to two especially deserving masters of their craft. One of the honorees, Bob Carlin, has graciously agreed to visit the museum and provide highlights from his newly released book “Banjo: An Illustrated History.”


A recent description of the book reads as thus: This book offers the first comprehensive, illustrated history of the banjo in its many forms. It traces the story of the instrument from its roots in West Africa to its birth in the Americas, through its coming of age in the Industrial Revolution and beyond. The book profiles the most important players and spotlights key luthiers and manufacturers. It features 100 “milestone instruments” with in-depth coverage, including model details and beautiful photos. It offers historical context surrounding the banjo through the ages, from its place in Victorian parlors and speakeasies through its role in the folk boom of the 1950s and 1960s to its place in the hands of songwriter John Hartford and comedian Steve Martin. Folk, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock – the banjo has played an important part in all of these genres. Lavishly illustrated, and thoughtfully written by author, broadcaster, and acclaimed banjoist Bob Carlin, this is a must-have for lovers of fretted instruments, aficionados of roots music, and music history buffs.


Carlin will be taking questions and signing copies of his book, which will be available for sale. The other honoree for this year, Mali, West African musician, Cheick Hamala Diabate, will accompany Carlin, his schedule permitting. Featured in the book, Diabate is recognized for his important work with the African n’goni, the precursor of the modern banjo.


The program will be held at the MARC, located in the old Wentworth Courthouse, at 6:00 PM on Thursday, June 9th. The cost to attend the program is $5.00. If you have any questions, please contact the museum at (336) 634-4949 or MARCconnection@gmail.com.


Address: 1086 NC HWY 65, Reidsville, NC 27320