This October, Fremont will play host to an old-time music festival featuring hundreds of performers.
The 30th Annual Rural Roots Music Gathering will be held on Oct. 5, 6 and 7 at the Christensen Field House. The event will provide “a constant parade of traditional American music,” said Bob Everhart of the Iowa-based National Traditional Country Music Association, who is hosting the event. There will be nearly 190 performers total, all coming on stage for 20 minute sets, one after the other.
“That’s everything from mountain and banjo music to bluegrass and old-time country,” he said.
One highlighted performer will be Terry Smith, who wrote the song “Far Side Banks of Jordan,” which was made popular by Johnny and June Carter Cash.
“Mr. Smith is a very successful songwriter, and he’s had dozens of his songs recorded by superstars,” Everhart said.
Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $20 per person per day or $50 for a three-day pass.
Next year, the event will take on even greater significance, Everhart said. National Old Time Music Festival will be hosted in Fremont on October 3, 4, 5 and 6 of 2019. It’ll be the 44th annual National Old Time Music Festival—but the first time it’s been held in Fremont.
That will expand the itinerary significantly to include the presentation of several awards: the Rural Roots Music Foundation will present its CD of the Year award, America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame will make their inductions and others will receive lifetime achievement awards. The event will bring out about 250 performers.
The National Traditional Country Music Association advocates for the musical heritage of rural upper Midwest America. It is “concerned about what happens to this music if there’s no other commercial opportunity for it to exist,” Everhart said.
“In other words, it’s probably not something you’re going to hear on pop radio, rock radio or even country radio,” he added.
Everhart said that it’s important to preserve rural roots music because it was the music of the original settlers of places like Nebraska, and has a place in American history.
“Roots music is the origin of a whole bunch of different genres of music,” he said. “It’s very sincere, it’s very truthful, it’s very honest and it’s very very entertaining.”