A half a dozen guys are wrestling with the poles of a big canvas tent in a field in Kingston Springs, TN. We're at Hayshed Farms, and the goal is to be ready by Friday for the second annual Hoedown on the Harpeth. Organizer Robert Dunn takes a break to describe what to expect over two days and nights this weekend. “We’re trying to reflect on that 1925 to 1975 era of classic country music," Dunn said. "And back in those days was when you had a festival like this at the local farm or down the street. Everything was homemade. Just to give that down home feel of the working man’s festival. That’s what we’re doing.” A main stage near the junction of Big Turnbull Creek and the Harpeth River will feature old time string band duo Mike Compton and Joe Newberry, a Johnny Cash tribute by Gary West and bluegrass pioneers Roni and Donna of the famous Stoneman Family, among others. A nearby Hayshed Stage will host square dances with The Farmer and Adele and the Glade City Rounders.
Additional draws include a workshop tent for instrumentalists, vendors, a kids area and beer. With an audience that will be measured in the hundreds rather than the thousands, it will be considerably more intimate than the recent Pilgrimage Festival. And more participatory as well. Dunn says the Hoedown evolved out of his long running annual picking party that’s been a strong draw for Nashville’s best bluegrass and traditional musicians. “We played til the sun came up Friday and Saturday night last year because it was so much fun," he said. "And all these musicians from Nashville and around this region got together and a number of them were telling me it was almost like a reunion. There are so many fabulous pickers here and it’s a treat to and a pure joy of mine to actually be able to provide a venue for them to all get together and have a great time.” To facilitate the overnight picking, overnight camping is encouraged, be it by tent or RV. Gates open at noon on Friday. FIND FULL INFORMATION ON HOEDOWN ON THE HARPETH, INCLUDING DIRECTIONS AND TICKET HERE.