Artists, headliners announced for 12th annual Saluda Arts Festival

Published 10:00 pm Monday, March 2, 2015

Foothills String Band

Foothills String Band

A record number of artists are entering the 12th annual Saluda Arts Festival representing a variety of art mediums. The festival is May 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Main Street in historic downtown Saluda. This year’s artists and craftspeople will make a strong showing of fine art and crafts representing a diversity of media including paintings, pottery, woodworking, sculpting, fiber, jewelry, metal, and much more. There will be plenty of public parking and a public restroom. A special highlight is the children’s art tent where kids can explore and create their own works of art. Festivalgoers will see demonstrations of several of the artists at work painting, blacksmithing, and jewelry making.

In addition to the artists, the festival is pleased to announce its headliners performing on the Ella Grace Mintz Stage in Top of the Grade Park at McCreery Park.

Hummingtree Band is a remarkably popular mixture of classic songs across multiple genres including Americana, rock, bluegrass, and folk, laced with original compositions and a truly engaging stage presence. Dave Miles (upright bass, guitar), Earl Turner (guitar, harmonica) and Randy Wykoff  (mandolin, octave mandolin and harmonica) came together as the Hummingtree band in the 1980s.  They will be onstage from 12-1:30 p.m.

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The three singer/songwriters came from diverse musical backgrounds, but were able to meld their styles and create a unique sound and musical experience that pleased audiences in legendary roadhouses, such as Jackson’s Station in Hodges, S.C., as well as regional festivals, such as Belle Chere in Asheville, along with an array of bars, restaurants, conventions, and, yes, even pigeon shoots across the Southeast. Now performing regularly, the Hummingtree Band has found popularity with a range of new audiences. Their unique blend of humor and musicality is entertaining, thought provoking and sheer fun.

Brevard’s Hog Town Squealers have delighted audiences and dancers for more than twenty years, and they’ll be onstage from 12-3 p.m. Currently the band consists of Tom Anderson (fiddle, vocals), Susan Brown (fiddle), Matt Gardner (bass), John von Stein (accordion, vocals), Keith Ward (guitar) and Gary Wells (banjolyn, vocals). Their music is old time in its foundation, but they explore the edges of old time traditions and incorporate other genres—a honky-tonk, ragtime and “obscure musical miscellany.”

In their eclectic approach to old time music, they share much of their musical attitude with the early incarnations of the Red Clay Ramblers and the Double Decker String Band. Drawing primarily from their own creative inclinations, though, and from the early greats of recorded Southern stringband music, they cite as influences Uncle Dave Macon, Gid Tanner, and North Carolinian Charlie Poole. In the same set as a rollicking version of Uncle Dave’s “Old Plank Road” and the Carter Family’s “Dixie Darling” might be a “squealerized” version of “Thunder Road,” the Robert-Mitchum-penned theme song from the movie of the same name about moonshine bootleggers.

Sound Investment, playing from 2-4 p.m., is a favorite band for those who like to dance to classic rock and beach music. From Sound Investment you will hear the sounds of the Beach Boys, Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, The Four Tops, Young Rascals, Temptations, Righteous Brothers, Kinks, Supremes, Johnny Rivers, Doobie Brothers, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and many more. With Rodney Gibson on keyboard and guitar, Rick Gunderson, lead guitar, Kevin Filson on bass, and Michael Leyshon playing drums, you will be on your feet!

A favorite performance at the Saluda Arts Festival each year is the Foothills Old Time String Band.  This four-piece string ensemble gathers at different areas along the festival site to play the old time tunes, popular in the Southern Appalachians before the days of radio.

Deadline for artist entries is March 16. Applications can be downloaded at, click on the Saluda Arts Festival, or call Susie Welsh at 828-749-3900, email

Volunteers are needed and sponsorships are available. Please contact Patty Martin at 828-817-9518 if you wish to volunteer and Beth Carson at if you would like to be a sponsor.

The Saluda Arts Festival is sponsored by the Saluda Business Association with the CORE members spearheading and organizing the festival each year.  CORE is an acronym for C-Creative, O-Organized, R-Responsible, and E-Energetic and Enthusiastic.

Saluda’s historic Main Street, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The festival is our tribute to the heritage of Saluda and the celebration of its long-standing art community.

For more information about the Saluda Arts Festival, please visit and click on the Saluda Arts Festival link.

-Submitted by Cathy Jackson