A variety of musical sound will fill the Montrose Community Park from noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 25 during the second annual Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival.
Hosted by the Highlands Trail Foundation, the festival supports the group's work on the Allegheny Highlands Trail from Elkins to Hendricks.
"We are really proud to present a program of all local musicians for 2012," said HTF President Karen Carper, referring to those living near either end of the 25-mile recreational route.
Hardly Ever is set to bring dynamic bluegrass to the Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival Aug. 25. Band members, from left are, Jeremy Wanless, mandolin; Kathy Gainer, bass; Jesse Wanless, guitar and vocals; and first-place state champion Joe Gainer on banjo.
Members of Hardly Ever from Elkins will bring their dynamic bluegrass sound to the Montrose stage from the southern end of the trail. The hilly region north of Hendricks will be represented by the popular Irish band Aurora Celtic.
Hardly Ever banjoist Joe Gainer is known as one of the finest musicians and entertainers in West Virginia. A first-place winner of the West Virginia State Banjo Competition, Gainer began playing when he was 13 years old.
He is joined by bluegrass veteran Jeremy Wanless on mandolin. Wanless has taught mandolin at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis and Elkins College for a number of years. He began playing mandolin at age 10.
Hardly Ever members are related by more than their love of music. Gainer's wife, Kathy, performs as bassist. The talented singer and songwriter has performed since she was a child. Vocalist and professional entertainer Jesse Wanless is married to Jeremy Wanless, but the family relations don't stop there. Kathy Gainer and Jeremy Wanless are also kin. He calls her "Mom."
The Hardly Ever show will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Music by Aurora Celtic blends the cultures of Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia in the hills of West Virginia. The band performs evocative, traditional and original tunes on guitar, fiddle, Irish flute, whistle, mandolin and tenor banjo.
Band members Alice Fleischman, Michael Broderick and Andrew Nelson have played throughout the region, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in Europe. Their music has also been featured on National Public Radio's Thistle & Shamrock music program.
Diverse musical backgrounds contribute to the group's eclectic sound. Each band member has played in numerous groups with styles including classical, Appalachian, Celtic and alternative. Broderick and Nelson are both prolific composers and arrangers, contributing exciting original material to the band's repertoire.
Aurora Celtic will perform at 3:30 p.m.
Other performers scheduled to appear on stage include local favorites Pam Roberts, Diana Vera and Caleb Karriker. Karriker will open the festival with a set at noon. Roberts and Vera will perform as a duo at 1:30 p.m.
Montrose is the perfect place for trail events, said HTF Events Committee Chair Gordon Blackley.
"It's the midpoint for bike riders from both Elkins and Parsons, and the community park is a wonderful facility for our event," Blackley said.
The park is equipped with a covered stage opposite a pavilion, with picnic tables where festival guests can relax, listen to music and enjoy the pulled pork barbecue feast served by HTF volunteers.
"The town installed new playground equipment this year, which makes it especially nice for families with young children," Blackley said. "The entire park is shaded by a grove of oaks that keep it nice and cool."
Proceeds from the 2012 event will help fund improvements on the AHT.
"The oldest part of the trail was built in 2001 from Elkins to Parsons," Carper said. "Most of the unpaved section is in need of resurfacing, and ditch lines and culverts need to be cleared in many areas."
The HTF is working to raise funds as match for a Recreational Trails Fund maintenance grant to support this work.
Tickets for the trail festival are available at Joey's Bike Shop in Elkins and Blackwater Bikes in Davis. Both music and food are included in the ticket price of $20 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
For more information on the Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival or other HTF activities and events, anyone interested can visit www.highlandstrail.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find Highlands Trail Foundation on Facebook.