Items from across the Triad and beyond


Grassroots Productions Limited, Inc., the organization that has staged the Fun Fourth Festival and Festival of Lights for 23 years, will wind down operations by late summer 2016, according to Sam Hummel, president of the group´s Board of Directors.

The community festivals and events the group has presented will be handed over to others thanks to partnerships cultivated over the years.

“Grassroots was established in 1979 to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse” said Hummel. “At the time, no other organization existed to do this. “ Grassroots held a national playwriting competition in 1980 and in March, 1981, celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse with its production of the original play “Rise and Fight Again,” which interpreted the battle period. Following the successful Bicentennial celebration, Grassroots continued with initiatives that foster interest in Guilford County history and civic events.

“Grassroots’ Executive Director Betty Cone, a tireless volunteer, has spearheaded operations, raised community funds for events, involved thousands of volunteers, and overseen two full-time staff and many contract employees in order to stage downtown festivals and events,” according to Hummel. “After 36 years, she is ready to retire,” he added.

“The fact that there are many entities in town able to carry on aspects of what our organization has done is testament to the vibrancy and vitality of our city,” says Cone. “To see individuals and families enjoying the various Grassroots-produced events in Downtown Greensboro has brought me immense personal joy.”

Grassroots plans to give the City of Greensboro and Downtown Greensboro, Inc., the holiday decorations it has acquired, including 205 illuminated snowflakes, as well as banners and flags it has used to celebrate various community events. The City of Greensboro and DGI will continue the holiday decorating and the banner program.

Festival of Lights holiday event, which annually brings some 35,000 people to downtown, will continue under the direction of Downtown Greensboro, Inc. Highlights of this First Friday event in December include the lighting of the Community Tree given to Center City Park by the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.


MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 28-May 1, 2016, is proud to announce additions to the 2016 lineup: Old Crow Medicine Show, Alison Brown, Peter Rowan and Doug Seegers. The four-day event, the largest roots and Americana music festival in the nation.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Old Crow Medicine Show got its start on the streets, busking in New York and up into Canada, winning audiences one street corner at a time. In Boone, N.C., the band caught the attention of folk icon Doc Watson while playing in front of a pharmacy, and Old Crow’s subsequent all-star performances at MerleFest helped jumpstart its career. Now the band has joined the Grand Ole Opry, cut five albums, toured the world and redefined Americana. MerleFest 2016 will mark Old Crow Medicine Show’s fifth highly anticipated performance on the Watson Stage.

Alison Brown – Acclaimed as one of today’s finest progressive banjo players, you’ll rarely find Alison Brown in a conventional bluegrass setting. With her new Compass Records project, “The Song of the Banjo,” and a 2015 IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award behind her, this Grammy Award-winning musician, composer, producer and entrepreneur has planted another flag in her ongoing journey of sonic exploration.

Peter Rowan – Grammy Award winner and six-time nominee, Peter Rowan is a singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of Bill Monroe, to his time in Old & In the Way, to his breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of records, collaborative projects and constant touring. He is a bluegrass legend who never tires of creating.

Doug Seegers – Discovered on the streets of Nashville by a Swedish country star, 62-year-old singer-songwriter Doug Seegers grew up on the hard-country sounds of Hank Williams and ended up living the kind of rough life that country songs have always immortalized. After becoming a smash hit in Sweden, Seegers’ triumphant return to Nashville has proven that the depth and honesty of his songwriting transcends place.

Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. !