When the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre hosts bluegrass bands, appreciative crowds usually show up to listen.
The historic centre, at 12229 Bristow Road, hosted one socially distanced bluegrass concert last year. This year, the series will expand to three concerts on Aug. 14, Sept. 11, and Oct. 9.
“We used to have bluegrass concerts every year as part of Brentsville Day, but with everything that’s been going on for the past year or so, we weren’t able to have Brentsville Day in 2019 or 2020,” said Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre Site Manager Paige Gibbons-Backus. “Our bluegrass concert series is a way to bring the history and heritage of Brentsville Day and the bluegrass concerts to the site without having the big, massive event that we’ve done in the past.”
The Skystone Bluegrass Band will kick off this year’s season of the Brentsville Bluegrass Concert Series on Aug. 14. The band will play a selection of waltzes and hard-driving, traditional bluegrass music. “Most of it is pretty fast-paced. It’s old-time music,” said Tommy J. Barlow, Skystone’s dobro player. “They’ll hear a lot of songs they’ve heard all their lives. There’ll be some gospel and other songs, that more than likely, they’ll be able to sing along to.”
Skystone’s Ben Outland, on guitar and lead vocals, Paul Clarke, singer and bass player and Larry Carpenter on banjo will join Barlow, as they strive to please the crowd. “We’re hoping, number one, that it’s successful for Brentsville, and number two, we’re hoping that the people who have been pent up in their houses for the last year or so will be able to get out, have a good time and listen to some good music.”
When the gates open at 4 p.m., visitors will be able to tour the grounds to see the insides of the buildings including the Brentsville Courthouse, the Brentsville School, and the newly opened Brentsville Jail Museum. “The site will be open for self-guided tours and we’re going to have interpreters stationed throughout the site,” Gibbons-Backus said. The concerts will start at 5 p.m.
The concerts are well received. “People have absolutely loved them,” Gibbons-Backus said. “They love being able to get outside and gather as a family and listen to bluegrass music in the historic site. The concerts bring a lot of people to the historic site who might not normally go to take a regular tour, and it allows them to see and explore the buildings at their own pace and enjoy a nice evening outside listening to some great bluegrass music.”
King Street Bluegrass is scheduled to appear on Sept. 11 and the band Page County Ramblers is scheduled to perform on Oct. 9. Admission is $10. People should bring chairs. Food and beverage are available for purchase on-site.
The concert is on the lawn behind the courthouse which is marked to help maintain social distancing. Face masks are required indoors. Space is limited. Advance ticket purchases are recommended. Visit www.pwcparks.org/