Spirit of Uncle Dave: Festival keeps tradition

Though a blistering hot Tennessee weekend this past July 13 – 15, many people gathered at historic Cannonsburgh Village to watch or participate in some old-school country activities at Uncle Dave Macon Days.

The festival has been going on for three decades now, this year marking the 30th annual competition in honor of Uncle Dave, a late Grand Ole Opry banjo star.

One nice couple from Lewisberg, Tenn., said they had attended once in the 1980s and came back this year, so the festival keeps bringing back many longtime fans, as well as new ones.

It was a first for festivalgoer John, from Huntsville, Ala., who said he came to “just listen to the music.” For his first time, he certainly came prepared, clad in his sleeveless, purple Harley Davidson T-shirt, both he and his wife, lounged in their comfy lawn chairs were set to make a day of it.

Some of the music John and other bluegrass fans were able to enjoy came from individual guitar, mandolin and fiddle contests held throughout the day Saturday. There were also old-time and bluegrass band competitions in which each of these instruments blend together to make some soulful Southern sounds.

While at the festival, one can tell the contestants take their talent seriously from the tiny girl dancers running around dolled up in poofy dresses to the bands practicing alongside the stage or under tents.

The dancing was a sight to behold, and catching a glimpse of some old-time buckdancing madness was the highlight of the weekend. The feet on these gifted men and women move so fast, it’s hard to fathom how they keep their balance. It must be all in the stance, because though their feet may be moving wildly, their upper bodies stay perfectly straight. The festival shows there’s a lot more to traditional country dancing than just line dancing.

When tired of sitting in the heat, many people ventured to the vendors to grab some refreshments and take a look at the handcrafted necessities such as beaded jewelry, crocheted shawls, Heineken mini-keg lamps and tie-dye shirts.

With all the things to see and to do, it’s no wonder the festival draws such an eclectic crowd to Murfreesboro each year.


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The Murfreesboro Pulse: Middle Tennessee’s Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News.

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