3rd Annual White Squirrel Festival Announces Free Music Concert in Downtown Brevard, North Carolina

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White Squirrel fans from around the country gather to hear a free music concert, see real white squirrels and shop for hand crafted mountain art.

From the music of famed guitarist Marc Yaxley to the soulful bluegrass of The Steep Canyon Rangers, the 3rd Annual White Squirrel Festival promises two days of star powered entertainment. Music organizer John Felty, of Jupiter Coyote fame, has brought together a great sampling of mountain music that showcases established acts as well as emerging new talent.

"My goal for the festival is to provide seasoned veterans, but also to showcase up and coming talent. The White Squirrel Festival is the kind of venue where you can see a band perform for free -- one that in three to four years might be a household name."

The music will be performed on a lighted, covered stage in the center of Main Street in downtown Brevard, North Carolina. The current list of musicians includes...

Saturday, May 27th

4:30 - 5:30 pm Beth Wood http://BethWoodMusic.com
5:45 - 6:45 pm Marc Yaxley

7:00 - 8:15 pm The Biscuit Burners http://TheBiscuitBurners.com
8:30 - 10:00 pm The Steep Canyon Rangers http://SteepCanyon.com

Sunday, May 28th

1:30 - 2:15 pm Davidson River Taiko

2:30 - 3:15 pm Blue Mountain Myst

4:30 - 5:15 pm Wanda Lou Paxson

5:30 - 6:30 pm High Windy http://HighWindyBand.com
7:00 - 8:00 pm FifthHouse http://FifthHouse.org
8:20 - 10:00 pm Bonepony http://Bonepony.com

Beth Wood

Beth Wood grew up in Lubbock, TX, where she was classically trained in piano, violin, harp and voice. After spending two years studying voice and piano at Brevard College in North Carolina, Beth moved on to The University of Texas, where she picked up a degree in Literature and her first guitar. While teaching herself guitar, she joined a band and became part of the Austin music scene. After a few years of playing around Austin in her band, and then in a duo, Beth kissed her day-job goodbye and returned to the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina to pursue music full-time. The natural beauty of her surroundings provided inspiration while the supportive community helped Beth to become a standout in the Asheville songwriters’ community. Now an established singer/songwriter, she resides in Arlington, Texas while continuously touring to support her six independent releases.

Marc Yaxley

Jazz-blues guitar master Marc Yaxley's playing was recently featured on National Public Radio. He has performed jazz, blues and other styles in such Vegas hotels as the Hilton, Desert Inn and MGM Grand. He's opened for jazz great Ramsey Lewis, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson and blues rocker Warren Haynes. He's performed extensively with noted pianist and songwriter Harold Blanchard. He was a featured soloist in the film "Ghost Story."

The Biscuit Burners

Hailing from the hills of North Carolina, THE Biscuit Burners have established themselves as the complete package for acoustic entertainment. With the combination of their immense talent, diverse backgrounds, and youthful energy, the Biscuit Burners successfully turn the heads of everyone who cross their path. Their self-proclaimed "Fiery Mountain Music" layers intricate picking and melodious vocals in a manner that stirs visions of the classic brother and sister duets that are deep in the roots of classic country and old-time mountain music. Their refreshing, yet reimiscent sound is winning new and diverse audiences as they continue to gain exposure.

The Steep Canyon Rangers

The Steep Canyon Rangers are young, ambitious musicians: Graham Sharp (banjo, lead and harmony vocals), Woody Platt (guitar and lead vocals), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass and harmony vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin and harmony vocals), and Nicky Sanders (fiddle and harmony vocals). Their constant touring, intense rehearsing, and most importantly, their creative songwriting sets them apart from the field. With the genre overflowing with young bands, many see Steep Canyon Rangers as the future of bluegrass music.

Bonepony

With five albums out and a sixth on the way, Bonepony is a festival favorite. Band members Scott Johnson, Nick Nguyen and Kenny Wright will be releasing their new album "Feeling it," the day before playing the White Squirrel Festival, so die hard fans can get the new release the day of the event.

The White Squirrel Festival

This family friendly festival began three years ago on Memorial Day weekend. The festival centers around Brevard's famed white squirrels, which purportedly escaped from a circus truck, were captured by a family that later came to Brevard, and were then later released near the downtown. That was back in the 1950's. Today, the white squirrels make up 25% of Brevard's downtown squirrel population, according to an annual census. Many of the squirrels play in open sight on the campus of Brevard College, a short walk from the downtown festival. The festival is sponsored by the Heart of Brevard, a downtown revitalization, non-profit organization, as well as a number of local businesses. Madrid Zimmerman, the organization's new executive director, sees the festival as part of the new economy developing in the region. "Because of the natural beauty of the area's waterfalls and the famed work of local artists, we're attracting cultural tourists that have a wide range of interests and are willing to spend more dollars to explore them."

Another festival highlight are the tours. Free shuttles take festival visitors to the Brevard College campus, cameras in hand, where they take pictures of the famed creatures, often to the disbelief of friends and family back home. A self guided walking tour will also be available. In addition, the downtown streets will be closed off to showcase mountain arts and crafts vendors from throughout the southeast. Unique white squirrel collectibles, custom pottery, vintage antiques and hand carved woodwork are just a sampling of the street merchants lined up for this year's event. Extra children's activities are also being planned with the addition of a White Squirrel Village.

Vendors interested in attending the event are encouraged to visit http://WhiteSquirrelFestival.com to download an application. Those interested in performing should contact John Felty through the web site. Food, lodging and event information can also be found there. Those planning to attend are encouraged to reserve rooms early and to sign up for the festival's newsletter for ongoing announcement and updates. Attendance is anticipated to be 10,000 to 15,000, more than the population of the city itself.

"Last year we had restaurants out of food two days after the event," said event coordinator Phil Davis. "This year we've even heard of a group that is planning a White Squirrel wedding." With free music, tours and activities, the festival is on track to surpass the attendance of the first two years. "We just enjoy bringing the community and the tourists together this time each year," Davis states. "When it comes to this festival, people just love "going nuts.'"

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Madrid Zimmerman
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