14th Annual Gamble Rogers Folk Festival


Historic City News has learned that on May 1st through 3rd, the very best in folk music will be presented in a three-day extravaganza of entertainment, food and fun when the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival comes to the St. Johns County Fairgrounds.

One of the nation’s most popular folk music events, the festival showcases great performers as a tribute to Gamble Rogers, a local resident and folk music icon whose outstanding guitar picking and storytelling made him a national treasure.

The festival will be take place at the spacious St. Johns County Fairgrounds – a site that will be transformed into Oklawaha County – the fictional setting for many of Gamble Rogers’ stories. The fairgrounds will provide plenty of space for the festival’s six stages of continuous music and entertainment.

In 1991, Gamble Rogers had just attained the peak of his career when he perished while trying to save a drowning stranger in the surf.

Often described as the “resurrection of Will Rogers and Mark Twain,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution called Gamble Rogers “an American treasure worthy of inclusion in the Smithsonian.” Today, the festival along with Gamble Rogers Middle School and Gamble Rogers State Park serve as lasting reminders of a man who gave so much to this beautiful part of the Sunshine State.

The year’s edition of the festival features nearly 70 performers including Jesse Winchester, Missy Raines and The New Hip, Willy Claflin, Jack Williams, Tracey Grammer, Gatorbone, The Rowan Brothers with Sue Cunningham, Ben Prestage, Amy Carol Webb, and Sam Pacetti.

In addition to the live performances, the festival features special activities for children, storytelling and great food.

As always, two of the highlights of the festival will be the “I Remember Gamble Rogers” contest at 11 a.m. on Sunday and the “Finger-style Guitar Championship” at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Winners of each receive a $500 prize and the finger-style guitar competition winner also receives a booking to appear at the 2010 version of the festival.

The gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday evening with performances by five bands and a free fish fry is included in the $25 ticket price.

Saturday afternoon and evening each feature a full slate of more than a dozen performances available for a special combination ticket of $40. A day-only Saturday pass (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is $25 and a Saturday evening pass is $25.

Admission for Sunday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is $25. A full weekend pass is $60 in advance and $75 at the door. Children under 12 are free with a paid adult (excluding Saturday night’s performance, when admission for children is $10).

The St. Johns County Fairgrounds are located on State Road 207 in Elkton, 6 miles west of I-95, Exit 311. For more information, call 904.826.3297.

The Gamble Rogers Folk Festival is funded in part by a grant from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.


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