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Mountain Keepers Music Festival

July 2, 2010 - Other News

  The Wetzel Chronicle receives many more items than we could ever print in the weekly newspaper. There just isn’t enough space for everything. That is why we mostly reserve our space only for items that are within the borders of Wetzel County or are very nearby. (The one exception is that we will print non-profit coming events from outside our service area as they do not take up much room and may be of interest to our readers.)

However, there are often items that don’t make the cut that still might be of interest to our readers. That is why we’ve decided to start this blog, “In Other News”. Since the Internet is virtually limitless, we can find space for these items that would otherwise never make it into the pages of the Wetzel Chronicle. We hope you’ll find them informative and maybe even find some events in our outlying areas that are worthy of a little driving time.

On July 3 and 4 the annual Mountain Keepers Music Festival will be held at Kayford Mountain's Stanley Heirs Park located near Dawes, W.Va., which is about 35 minutes south of Charleston off of Interstate 64. The two-day event will feature then local and regional musicians playing a variety of bluegrass, gospel, country, and old time music, as well as poetry, pot-luck meals, and a special appearance by leading NASA Climatologist James Hansen. This is a free concert that will celebrate Appalachian life and attendees are encouraged to bring a covered dish.

The purpose of the concert, according to local citizen activist Larry Gibson, is to “bring family and friends together for a weekend of celebrating West Virginia’s heritage and freedom. July 3 and 4 will see people from all walks of life, bound by their common love of our mountains and people. This will be a safe festival as festival organizers will have trained security present and all are invited to peacefully enjoy this festival.

The festival will feature many emerging artists who celebrate their homes and heritage. Charleston musician T. Paige Dalporto will perform songs on West Virginia’s coal heritage and struggles that have been reviewed as, “beautiful, simple, and sincere.” Popular local band 600 Lbs. of Sin will be performing their energetic style and will specifically be performing a song written to commemorate the 29 miners lost in the Upper Big Branch Disaster. Legendary and Award Winning West Virginia musicians Michael and Carrie Kline will be singing old time West Virginia folk songs and ballads. Crystal Good, 2004 Winner of the Governor’s Innovative Artist Award, of the Affrilachian Poets will also perform her unique poetry.

This year’s festival will be hitting a high point when Ben Sollee performs on Saturday evening.  He is a renowned celloist who defies convention by mixing in a soulful voice which earned him a place in National Public Radio’s list of Top Ten Unknown Artists in 2007.  His performance on Saturday night will  lead into a Sunday morning of gospel singing, led by up and coming artist Rebekah Jean, and a Sunday Service. Sunday afternoon will feature great Latin music from Charleston’s Duo Divertido, beautiful songs from singer songwriter Patricia Ansley, and ballads from Sara Lynch-Thompson.

Anyone attending is encouraged to bring a covered dish for potluck meals. Camping is available for free. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact or call 304-542-1134. For complete online information on the festival, please visit


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T. Paige Dalporto