The sounds of logs being split into fence rails will be mixed with
the sounds of fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars as the festival
presents the first Dan Tackett Bluegrass Jam, which organizers are
hoping will become an integral part of the celebration in ensuing
Tackett, a Lincoln resident, has been part of the central
Illinois bluegrass scene for about 20 years. He was a member of the
now-disbanded group Leftover Biscutz, which performed at many
festivals throughout central Illinois for several years.
"I originally resisted having my name attached to this event, but
my daughter, Misty Bell (administrative assistant at the county's
tourism bureau), pushed the point," said Tackett.
Tackett did insist that the initial event be a memorial tribute
to one of his picking pals, the late Davey Johnson of Morton.
"Davey was Mr. Bluegrass to many folks in central Illinois," said
Tackett. "He not only played in bands in the area, but he was a
great organizer of jam sessions and bluegrass programs. He spent an
untold amount of time each year organizing the bluegrass stage shows
each fall at New Salem State Historic Site, and in later years did
the same thing at the Railsplitter Festival here in Lincoln. He made
sure there were groups playing music on the Railsplitter Festival
stage throughout the two days of the festival."
Tackett said this year's jam will be more of an informal event
than organized stage shows. He hopes groups of jammers will be
scattered throughout the fairgrounds during the festivalís Saturday
and Sunday run.
[to top of second column]
"We're extending an invitation for all acoustic string musicians
to show up and join in the fun. And yes, the emphasis is on
acoustic. Bluegrassers tend to frown on instruments that are plugged
in," said Tackett. "Along the same lines, bluegrassers have a
reputation of welcoming all levels of playing ability into their
circles. If youíre just learning to play an instrument, donít be
shy. Come out and do some picking."
The festival kicks off from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday with a Civil War
ball at the Lincoln Park District. Festival activities at the
fairgrounds run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Admission is $3 a day or $5 for the weekend. Those 12 and younger
are admitted free, and parking on the fairgrounds is also free.
Another addition to the festival is the production "Pleasant
Sage," written by Amanda Martin with production assistance by Lisa
Kuhlman. The play will be presented on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the
Logan County Fairgrounds.
A good old-fashioned barn dance will follow with caller Ozzie
[Text from file received from
Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of