National bluegrass acts and a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere make the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival the place to be July 4–8 in Centre Hall, Pa., a 200-mile drive from Washington, D.C.
The event, now in its 12th year, has grown from three to five days and has been called one of the fastest-growing bluegrass festivals in the United States by Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Attendance was 9,000 last year, with spectators hailing from 27 states and Canada.
The festival is so popular, couples have been inspired to hold their weddings at two past events. It helps that the host band, Remington Ryde, has a banjo player who is also a minister. Billy Lee Cox presided at the nuptials, which were held onstage in front of the crowd.
Founded and led by Pennsylvania native Ryan Frankhouser, Remington Ryde is a bluegrass group that presents 100 concerts a year around the country and participates in many festivals. When the band performs at churches, Cox also
gives the inspirational message.
The band, whose latest album is “A Storyteller’s Memory,” recently signed with Pinecastle Records. The group received four nominations — including Entertainers of the Year — at the 2018 Bluegrass Music Awards show in Nashville, sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America.
Frankhouser is songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitar player. Besides Cox, other band members are Stanley Efaw on mandolin and Jim Treat on bass.
Frankhouser founded the festival when he was 22 because of his passion for bluegrass music and desire to bring it to the masses. He makes a point to greet festival attendees. He often brings his 3-year-old son, Bodie, on stage to play
The festival is known for its clean grounds, good organization, wholesomeness, inexpensive prices, and “top-of-the-line” music, according to Dee Porpotage, who promotes the event.
“My, oh, my — it’s such an awesome lineup!” is the type of comment she said the festival receives from attendees.
Besides Remington Ryde, bands slated to perform at the 2018 festival include Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Little Roy & Lizzy Show, Malpass Brothers, Nothin’ Fancy, Lonesome River Band, The Grascals, Larry Stephenson Band, Hillbilly Gypsies, Moron Brothers, Larry Efaw & Bluegrass Mountaineers, The Baker Family, The Farm Hands, Larry Gillis & Swampgrass, Kevin Prater Band, Canaan’s Land, Po’ Ramblin Boys, Coal Country Express, and Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition.
In addition, there will be a Sunday church service, Gospel Sing and Jam, and a children’s program.
The festival is held at the Grange Fairgrounds at 169 Homan Lane in Centre Park. Remington Ryde sets up a stage in a grassy area. Spectators can bring their own chairs and take advantage of four large shade tents.
Forty food, beverage, and craft vendors will be on hand. Spectators may bring alcohol, if used discreetly. Pets are welcome, except in the concert area. A tram will run continuously on festival grounds.
RV hookups and tent pads are available, as well as hotel packages through the Ramada Inn Conference Center (814-238-3001; ask for the bluegrass rate).
Centre Hall is a small town in central Pennsylvania close to State College and less than 20 minutes from Penn State University. Visitors to the area enjoy the quaint old homes, Amish farms, restaurants, antique stores, bed-and-
breakfasts, and Penn’s Cave, a tourist attraction with a water cavern.
What: Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival
When: July 4–8
Where: Centre Hall, Pa.
Info/tickets: 717-348-3537, remingtonryde.com