Nightflyer (pictured), playing its final show, performs alongside Tony Hale & Blackwater, Evan Lanier & the Bluegrass Express, Sugargrove Bluegrass and others at Jeff Schmitt Chevrolet South's fifth annual Miami Valley Bluegrass & Artisan Festival at Riverfront Park in Miamisburg on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

Miami Valley Bluegrass & Artisan Fest streamlines into 1-day event

When Jeff Schmitt Chevrolet South presents Miami Valley Bluegrass & Artisan Festival at Riverfront Park in Miamisburg on Saturday, Sept. 21, it won’t be as expansive as last year’s expanded two-day experiment. However, that change in scale won’t diminish the entertainment value on display at the free outdoor event.

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“I wanted to simplify it a little bit this year,” festival organizer Max Nunery said. “Doing a two-day event last year was just too much. We had some big-name acts and it went well but we’re trying to keep the festival viable without it costing too much money and having to abort. We got it back down to one day but we still have a lot of great talent.”

Headliner Nightflyer is playing its final show that night. The lineup also includes Tony Hale & Blackwater, Evan Lanier & the Bluegrass Express, Sugargrove Bluegrass, Repeating Arms, Stringus Khan and others.

“This year I really wanted to focus on some of the great bluegrass bands that made their name around the Miami Valley region,” Nunery said. “I focused quite a bit more on local bands this year in the traditional style but there are some other things too like a couple of singer-songwriters and some different styles of bluegrass.

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Local bluegrass group the Repeating Arms, (left to right) Max Nunery, Brian Spirk, Harold Hensley, John Lardnois and Ben Cooper, are among the local acts performing at the fifth annual Winterfest at the Yellow Cab Bldg. in Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 13. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

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“The bands playing this year have played the festival in some capacity before,” Nunery continued. “It’s definitely a nice conglomerate of great local bluegrass musicians — traditionalists and newgrass players. It really gives a good representation of what’s going in the bluegrass scene around here.”

The Miami Valley Bluegrass & Artisan Festival also features more than a dozen artisan vendors, a hayride, a bicycle valet, mini golf, children’s activities, beer sales and food trucks. The Historical Society of Miamisburg is bringing in old-time crafters for demonstrations of blacksmithing, papermaking, basket weaving and other pursuits.

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“It’s going to be a good day,” Nunery said. “The City of Miamisburg has come through to help keep things rolling on the artisan end of the festival. They’re awesome to work with. And I couldn’t do this without our sponsors. Jeff Schmitt Chevrolet South is the presenting sponsor and we’ve got a whole bunch of local sponsors like the Merchants Association and Ron’s Pizza.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s fun when it all comes together,” Nunery added. “The thing I love the most is stopping and enjoying a moment where I’m watching the bands and the crowd engaged in each other and it’s perfect. I love helping to create that moment.”

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