The Rugby Roots: Appalachian Arts With A British Beat series continues on May 23, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, with a new version of Spring Festival that will showcase the talents of musicians, dancers, and storytellers. Daytime performances begin at noon and conclude at 6:30 p.m., Eastern. Click on the link to see the complete Festival schedule.

Visit the Cafe porch to hear old-time singer Roy Harper, recipient of a Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award in 2003. Alternating with him in that venue will be solo performer Michael Jacobs, whose original songs incorporate Native American tradition into folk and rock Americana.

Performing on the storytelling stage between the Board of Aid and Commissary will be Judy Baker from Cleveland, TN, teller of traditional Appalachian folk tales and personal experience stories; Tim Mangan of Crossville, whose tales include stories behind popular American broadside ballads; Delanna Reed, from ETSU, presenting traditional British and Appalachian Jack tales; and Morgan County native Joni Lovegrove, telling stories from her Cherokee heritage.

Headliners for this year’s festival will be the Twangtown Paramours, an acoustic duo from Nashville, singer-songwriters who draw on country, bluegrass, and blues genres in crafting ‘new folk’ songs that have won them national acclaim. They will perform an evening concert in Johnson Theatre at 7:00 p.m. as well as a daytime set on the main music stage, located on the Parkway west of Kingstone Lisle. Sharing the main music stage with them will be Junction South, performing classic rock and country Americana; and the Empty Bottle String Band, a young group of old-time musicians from Johnson City, whose dance tunes are guaranteed to bring square dancers and buck dancers in the audience to their feet.

British dance will be represented, as at all forty past Rugby Spring Festivals, by Lark in the Morn Country Dancers from Knoxville and their instrumentalists, performing in front of the schoolhouse and inviting visitors to join them in the traditional maypole dance on the lawn of Ivy Cottage. The Tenpenny Rapper sword dancers will also perform.

Food vendors and Harrow Road Cafe will provide food and drink for everyone. Begin your day with a hike or tour of the village, and visit the Rugby shops during this event. Plan to return to Rugby for the FREE June 13-14 Street Fair, when traditional artisans and crafters will be here to demonstrate and sell their wares along with antiques and vintage collectable vendors.

Festival tickets are $5 daytime only, $5 for the evening concert only, or a combined ticket price of $8 for both. Ticket revenue supports artist fees and also helps Historic Rugby maintain and staff the Visitor Centre and Johnson Theatre. Bring friends who have never visited Rugby to enjoy these performances, take them on tour, and encourage them to join Historic Rugby and support our mission of historic preservation and cultural interpretation.

Rugby Roots events are made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Fund of the East Tennessee Foundation