Hillbilly Days: April 18th – 20th, 2013
Festivals of every kind are held year-round in all parts of the country. However, if we had to pick just one to attend all year, our first choice for a hoot n’ hollerin’ good time would be the annual Hillbilly Days Festival in Pikeville, Kentucky. Nicknamed the “Mardi Gras of the Mountains”, Hillbilly Days celebrates the best of Appalachian culture.
A brief history:
Hillbilly Days of Pikeville began in 1977 as a fundraiser to support the Lexington, KY Shriners Children’s Hospital. Since then, this annual event has grown to become one of the largest festivals in Kentucky, only second to the Kentucky Derby Festival.
At the festival…
There’s great food
Just look at all that in the photo below. Clearly, there’s something to eat for everyone. I think I smell ribs.
There’s a carnival and a crazy parade
What size is that underwear?! There seems to be a lot of enormous underwear at Hillbilly Days.
And just when you thought it could not possibly get any better that, there’s also…
In Pikeville, Kentucky, nationally recognized musicians gather at Hillbilly Days to entertain fans of mountain music from all across the country. It’s hardly a surprise that this festival is often referred to as the “Woodstock” of mountain music.
Here are just two of the many groups in the lineup.
An all-girl bluegrass band, originating from the hills of Appalachia.
A Kentucky bluegrass band that also combines elements of country and gospel.
With so much toe-tapping music, there’s gotta be dancing!! At Hillbilly Days, you’ll find:
Look! It’s Hillbilly Dave!… Why he’s one of the best, most high-kickin’-est dancers at Hillbilly Days!
Check out Dave and some of the other terrific dancers in the videos below.
Besides the great dancing, we love these clips because they remind us of a few important things:
- Yes, dance is an art form, but it is also about culture. When we watch this dancing, we’re witnessing a distinct part of our American heritage.
- Dance is at its best when it is about people getting together and having fun.
Having fun is just what these wild, crazy Hillbilly Days are all about!
Enjoy the videos!
The Dancing Outlaw
Although he’s not scheduled to appear at Hillbilly Days, we can’t mention mountain music and clogging without recognizing Jesco White, also known as “The Dancing Outlaw”. An accomplished mountain dancer (a style unique to Appalachia which combines elements of clogging and tap dancing), Jesco rose to fame after the release of a series of documentaries about his tumultuous life. You can find out more about him here: Jesco White: The Dancing Outlaw.
There is also a documentary featuring Jesco’s father, the famous mountain dancer, D. Ray White. The film is called “Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance – Flatfoot, Buck and Tap” by Mike Seeger and Ruth Pershing. The film can be seen by clicking on the link below:
- Entire film: http://www.folkstreams.net/film,121
- Hillbilly Days: http://www.hillbillydays.com
- Hillbilly hoedown in Kentucky: YouTube video
- Hillbilly Days on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hillbillydays2013
- Pikeville Hillbilly Days on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PikevilleHillbillyDays
- The Mountain Music Museum: http://www.mountainmusicmuseum.org
- Appalachian Clog Dancing: http://www.appalachianhistory.net
- Memorable Film/TV Dance Scenes and “Justified’s” Boyd Crowder (DanseTrack)
- Clog Dancing (DanseTrack)
- Fantastic essay by Michael Rettig in which a clog dancer saves the Earth from extinction: link
- Line Dancing & Square Dancing (DanseTrack)