WESTFIELD — The Nunn Brothers Music Park will come alive with bluegrass music this weekend as twin brothers and musicians Alden and Arnold Nunn host the 18th-annual Nunn Brothers Bluegrass Festival.
The park was an old Nunn family tobacco field before being landscaped by the brothers for the festival and other events. Nestled alongside a stream in a bottom between the Nunn family homeplace and the nearby homes where the brothers now reside, the field reflects the rich rural history of bluegrass that is present in both family and community.
The brothers have deep roots in the tiny Woodville community, located just north of Westfield, and with the bluegrass music they grew up playing. With music a family passion, impromptu bluegrass jam sessions were common in the Nunn home and large gatherings of family and friends would often be built around the chance to play.
Alden and Arnold Nunn have dedicated the festival to the memory of their father, Clarence Olin Nunn, who passed away in 1979. Both recall childhood memories of their father encouraging them, at the age of eight, to learn their own instruments and join in the music.
With this year’s festival, Arnold Nunn explained, the brothers will be looking to foster that passion for the music in the next generation by featuring a line-up heavy with youthful and talented top performers.
Once such group scheduled to play on Friday night is Shadow Grass. While the group’s oldest member is only 16, they have already won numerous awards at regional competitions in southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina and have performed in top venues throughout the eastern United States.
Other groups featuring youthful talent will include Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder as well as Carson Peters and Iron Mountain. Both will be featured on Saturday evening as will Big Country Bluegrass.
Still only 12 years old, Carson Peters has already compiled a long list of awards and accomplishments with his fiddle. He has claimed multiple championships against top competition at the Bluegrass and Old-time Fiddlers’ Convention in Mount Airy.
He has played in numerous well-known venues throughout the region and, in 2013, was featured as a guest on “The Tonight Show.”
“We’ve tried to focus on the younger talent this year,” Arnold Nunn said, “and we’re pleased. This is a really good line-up. People always enjoy seeing the younger ones play and the talent is impressive.”
“We enjoy getting to share the stage with this next generation of bluegrass musicians,” Alden Nunn added.
This year’s event will kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday evening with a musicians’ jam session that will be free and open to all.
A full Friday evening lineup will begin at 7 p.m. The local band Marshall Brothers and High Road will be followed on stage by Shadow Grass and the host group, The Nunn Brothers and Friends.
Saturday performances will begin at 5 p.m. Featured acts will include Carson Peters and Iron Mountain, Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder, Big Country Bluegrass and The Nunn Brothers and Friends.
As has become a festival tradition, Sunday afternoon will be dedicated to gospel music and a message. Beginning at 1:30, music will include The Rescue Baptist Church Singers, Jonathan Bledsoe Ministries, Tommy Nichols and The Nunn Brothers. Brother Tim Morrison will be preaching a message.
Admission for the festival will be $9 for Friday and $10 for Saturday or $18 for both days. No admission will be charged for Thursday’s jam session and for Sunday activities. Children under the age of 10 will be admitted free throughout the weekend.
Plenty of parking is available but organizers recommend that those attending bring lawn chairs as well as umbrellas and jackets in case of a sudden shower. Some tents are set up for shade and primitive camping is available. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
Concessions will be available for purchase, including drinks and ice cream provided by Albion Baptist Church.
“It’s a job getting ready for this every year,” Arnold Nunn noted. “But it’s a lot of fun and the people enjoy it. We have people here from Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. And the fire department, police and the Mount Airy Rescue Squad gets involved and that helps up out.”
“And we appreciate the support of our sponsors,” Alden Nunn added. “We see a lot of old friends and make some new ones during this week. This helps to draw people to bluegrass and we like being a part of that.”
From Pilot Mountain, the festival can be reached by taking Old Westfield Road to its end at Westfield Baptist Church and turning left onto Highway 89 (Westfield Road). Turn right after approximately 3 miles onto Woodville Road. The park is located ¾ miles on the right.
From Mount Airy, take Highway 89 (Westfield Road) at the DJ Galaxy Food Store in the Bannertown community and go 8 miles before turning left onto Woodville Road. The park is located ¾ mile on the right.
Additional information on the festival can be found at www.nunnbrothers.com or by calling 336-325-6866 or 336-325-9891.