After a few Myers Rum and orange juice drinks…
Early spring in 1995…Kermit Weeks and I had the brainstorm that we would start a music fest. It would be held at Kermit’s brand new facility, Fantasy of Flight Aviation attraction in Polk City, Florida, And we would call it “Wings and Strings”! It was 7 years of bringing in the best of the Americana bands…including John Hartford, Ricky Skaggs, Asleep at the Wheel and Robert Earl Keene (just to name a few). There were airshows and magic, camping and multiple stages with all the fixin’s! I never had a notion that over 20 years later, that crazy vision would remain a reality today.
After 7 years of learning the festival ropes, throwing in a few thousand hours and spending a ton of Kermit’s money, we did finally get a good crowd, but Kermit said “uncle,” and decided to move on to other ventures. He gave me his blessings, I moved the festival to a beautiful campground and kept the fest alive. We remain good pals today.
People…the Fans. The root of a successful fest, were established during those 7 years and they followed the show like chicks behind a hen to its new home, the Sertoma Ranch. The kids of those early fans are now in their 20’s or 30’s, have their own kids, and come to the Riverhawk and Stringbreak Festivals in tribes! Now Grand pa’s & ma’s watch their kids watch their kids and put these shows on their calendars as if it were any other holiday.
How cool is that!?!
My family has felt the pains, strains, and gains of it all. Garrett, Ryon, and Deb have always been there to support my endeavor. The endeavor to bring the greatest music to the ears of the eclectic. To put people in front of a stage to hear music that they never knew they loved, and to see families together in an environment that is wholesome and clean.
And we go into the future…Another Fest is always on the computer, bands are always on the hook, and new fans are always invited by our loyal and endearing fans from years past. I hope you will come join us!
See you at the show!