0630 RWBF

The audience listens to the band performing on stage at last year's Red, White and Bluegrass Festival.

Morganton’s annual outdoor music festival is set to return next week, and the lineup and schedule for this year’s event are finalized.

The Red, White and Blue Festival, taking on a slightly shorter name as the event expands its music horizons from a bluegrass-centric theme to a wider selection of music, is coming back to Catawba Meadows Park next Thursday through Saturday, July 4-6.

“It is the first year that we have a variety of music,” said Jennifer Nicholson, a program supervisor with the city of Morganton’s parks and recreation department. “You have a little bit of jazz, you have beach music, you have a little bit of rock and then you go back to your traditional bluegrass. We’ve got music for all music lovers.”

The main stage will be headlined at 9 p.m. each of the final two nights by Junior Sisk (Friday) and The Cleverlys (Saturday), but that will be preceded by a free admission day on Thursday.

That Independence Day holiday will feature music from Newton-based 95.7 FM The Ride from 3-6 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. performance by locally based Centerpiece Jazz and an 8 p.m. show by The Ocean Boulevard Band. The Star Spangled Banner will be performed at 9:15 p.m., followed by a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.

Friday’s main stage action will be emceed by Dennis Jones, and will feature performances from the Jacktown Ramblers (1 p.m.), Newtown (2:30 p.m.), The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (4 p.m.) and the Junior Appalachian Musicians (5:15 p.m.) before a dinner break at 5:30 p.m. After dinner, Newtown will retake the stage at 6 p.m. and The Malpass Brothers will follow at 7:30 p.m. before the evening is turned over to Sisk.

Stage No. 2 will feature Red Clay Revival (1 p.m.), Freewheelin’ Mamas (3 p.m.) and Noah Proudfoot and Botanicals Band (5 p.m.).

“We’ve also added something new in Stage No. 2,” Nicholson said. “That’s something different this year. For example, if there is bluegrass music on the (main) stage, the second stage is a different type of music, and vice versa.”

The festival’s second day also will feature a brief fireworks display to cap the evening.

Saturday, with emcees from Morganton’s 92.1 FM The Big Dawg, will have a main stage lineup of Billy James (1 p.m.), City Rhythm Jazz Band (2:30 p.m.), Todd Greene (4 p.m.) and the Junior Appalachian Musicians (5 p.m.) before dinner (5:30 p.m.). The rest of the evening will consist of Gotcha Groove (6 p.m.), Love Canon (7:30 p.m.) and the feature performance by The Cleverlys.

The secondary stage will see performances by Love Canon (1 p.m.), Butterbeans (3 p.m.) and The Neighbors Band (5 p.m.).

In addition to a broadened range of music, the festival has been expanded to bring more fun for children, Nicholson said. The event will have multiple inflatables and rides from 1-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. There is no extra charge for activities in the kids’ zone.

The event also will feature a train ride around the park and a Greenway tractor ride.

And for adults, the festival will sell alcohol this year on Friday and Saturday, as well.

“The festival should have an interest for all ages,” Nicholson said.

Daily admission to the Red, White and Blue Festival is $15 per person, while children ages 3-12 will be admitted for $10 and kids 2 years old and younger get in for free. A full event pass with reserved seating costs $50. Camping costs $10, with no hookups provided.

Tickets can be purchased at the CoMMA box office at 401 S. College St. in downtown Morganton or by calling 828-433-SHOW. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Online tickets also can be purchased through CoMMA at commaonline.org.

Catawba Meadows Park is located at 701 Sanford Drive. For more information, visit redwhiteandbluegrassfestival.org.

Justin Epley can be reached at jepley@morganton.com or 828-432-8943.

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