Annual music festival returns to Carl Junction

Eight miles northwest of Joplin off of highway 171 sits the city of Carl Junction, host of the annual Bluegrass and Crafts Festival. The festival has free admission and will be held in the Carl Junction Center Creek Park on Sept, 25.

“I think it’s the fact that it’s a community event where everybody gets to come together in Carl Junction to have a good time,” said Chuck Doyle, emcee and performer. “It’s relaxing and it’s free for everybody to enjoy, and you get to hear great regional bluegrass music.”

For 13 years the event has continued to grow. Every year there is also a car show with 40-60 cars, between 30 and 50 craft vendors and a chili cook-off. There is also carnival-like entertainment for the children including a petting zoo, miniature train ride, face painting and inflatables. Although some activities have minimal charges, enjoying the music costs nothing but your time.

“It is a certain kind of music,” said Randy Corbin, band coordinator and emcee for the event. “It’s all acoustic; everything is acoustic music. It’s kind of what you see is what you get.”

Bluegrass music is defined by Merriam-Webster Online as, “Country music played on unamplified stringed instruments (as banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin) and characterized by free improvisation and close, usually high-pitched, harmony.”

“Bluegrass music is probably part of the essence of being American,” said Doyle. “It’s the only style of music that really truly flourished in America. It certainly has roots in all sorts of other styles from Europe and such, but this is truly American music at its finest.”

The style of music is one to be enjoyed by all age groups. In fact, Corbin identified at least two of the acts include those under 20. Southern students are welcome to the event, and several plan to attend.

“I have a love for all instruments and for all music really,” said John Wilkins, senior music major, who plans on attending the event. “An area of music I hadn’t really studied was bluegrass music, so I dived in headfirst and really loved it.”