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Back Home is A Blast

July 4, 2018

The second annual Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival occurred over the weekend and brought in spectators from all around the United States and even abroad. Food vendors, artisans, and friendly faces lined the streets in downtown New Martinsville, and a star-studded line-up of bluegrass talent kept the masses entertained over June 29, June 30, and July 1.

Michael Barr of Morgantown made the commute to spend the weekend in New Martinsville to enjoy the shows. "This is an awesome event that is held close to home" stated Barr, whose family lives in Pine Grove.

"It was like being in my own backyard again," Barr said, as he recollected his days attending West Virginia Northern Community College.

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Downtown New Martinsville is alive with Appalachian Arts & Music.

"I never thought I would see something like this year."Nick West is a resident of Charleston and stated he has been "a bluegrass fan for many years now"

"When I saw that Del McCoury would be playing at a free festival, I couldn't let that opportunity go by" continued West. West mentioned he was also excited to hear Billy Strings and the Steel Drivers. Angela Tyler had made her way to the festival this year all the way from California. Tyler stated, "West Virginia has stolen my heart."

She remarked about the beauty of the state and noted, "everyone has been so nice and welcoming."

One gentleman noted he had travelled from New York to the festival, 7.5 hours away. Another woman said she had traveled from Northfolk, Va. to see Abby The Spoon Lady play. The woman said she is originally from the United Kingdom and follows Abby The Spoon Lady on the Internet.After the main stage would close down for the day, some folks headed to the Lincoln Theater for the late night musical entertainment, while others retreated back to the camping sites and entertained themselves with singing, dancing, and music. The camping spots were lined with tents from the multitude of people camping overnight.

Several special awards were given to the musicians over the course of the weekend. Ezra John Hamilton received an award from the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival for Best Vocals, while Johnny Staats received an award for Best Mandolin Playing. Butch Osborne received an award for Outstanding Banjo; Dan Kessinger received an award for Outstanding Fiddle, and Austin Alexander received an award for Outstanding Guitar. Ron Hoskinson received a special Back Home festival award for Lifetime Achievement. Hoskinson was recognized for years of teaching and playing music. Notably, one of his students was asked to be allowed to make his trophy. Hoskinson received his award on the opening day of the festival, June 29. He noted, with emotion, that the day would've been his late mother's birthday. Hoskinson said his mother had taught him his first song, The Wildwood Flower.



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