The official website of Bluegrass First Class offering the best in Bluegrass music, festivals, and entertainment.

Bluegrass celebrates 20 years indoors in Asheville – Carol Rifkin, Citizen-Times

Posted on | March 25, 2015 | Comments Off on Bluegrass celebrates 20 years indoors in Asheville – Carol Rifkin, Citizen-Times

As a teenager, Milton Harkey listened to bluegrass and gospel music spun on a hi-fi stereo he won in the ninth grade. He has since made a career of it, including as a founding member and the first elected chairman of the board of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

So as the Bluegrass First Class Festival turns 20 this year — running Feb. 20-22 at the Crowne Plaza Resort — all Harkey’s family members will be on hand to help.

“It all started with my mother, Pearl Harkey, sitting at the piano next to me playing gospel music,” Harkey said. “She played piano by ear and we sang gospel songs together.”

Saturday night television was a family event in their West Asheville home. First was Flatt and Scruggs, then Porter Wagoner and then the Wilburn Brothers. His favorite was Flatt and Scruggs, but he liked all the music.

“I just liked music and liked to listen to the radio,” Harkey said. “When I was in ninth grade, the morning newspaper, the Asheville Citizen-Times, had a contest to see who could sign up the most people and the winner got to go to Italy.”

Harkey won second place. His prize was a hi-fi stereo, old-fashioned by today’s standards but a much sought-after item then. Some of the first records he bought to play on his stereo were popular songs he’d heard on the radio, plus bluegrass.

“I wanted to go to Italy,” Harkey said. “Someone sold seven more subscriptions than me, but I might have been the winner in the end because they gave me music and I sang along and learned to play because of that….

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Tony Rice, Guitar Hero

Posted on | October 13, 2014 | Comments Off on Tony Rice, Guitar Hero

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Posted on | October 12, 2014 | Comments Off on ACCOMODATIONS

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Bluegrass First Class 2015

Posted on | October 8, 2014 | Comments Off on Bluegrass First Class 2015

This year’s event will be held on the THIRD WEEKEND of February (20th, 21st, & 22nd, 2015)

Nestled deep in the heart of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains

asheville nightAsheville, NC is one of the most exciting small cities you’ll ever be privileged to visit. It is a trendy haven for musicians, artists and craftspeople from all over the world. Arrive early and enjoy the red carpet VIP treatment you will receive at the regal Crowne Plaza Resort, your festival location, and take a little extra time to enjoy the local year-round sights and attractions this eclectic and charming area has to offer.

The lineup of performers for 2015 Bluegrass First Class is unbeatable!

Friday will feature the impeccable harmonies of 7-time Female Vocalist of the Year Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, 5-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the year Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.   Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer and IBMA’s 7-time winner for Vocal Group of the Year Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will surely bring a memorable performance. Let’s not forget the sweet sound of 5-time IBMA Femal Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, as well as Adkins and Loudermilk.  This will be an exciting day with the different sounds of Bluegrass Music.

Saturday, oh what a day!  Entertainment will include top national bands and one of the hottest up-and-coming Bluegrass bands you could imagine.  One of top Bluegrass bands in America, the incomparable Dailey & Vincent will not disappoint. Saturday’s performances will also include the seasoned talent of Seldom Scene, highly awarded and recognized Lonesome River Band, as well as the amazing vocals of Appalachian Fire, along with IMBA’s 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year ….. Flatt Lonesome!  This will truly be a day to remember!

Purchase your tickets and/or reserved seats online October 15th at 10:00 AM!

The Crowne Plaza Resort is the first of its kind in North Carolina and will be dedicated to bluegrass for the entire weekend. All rooms in the resort will be occupied by bluegrass fans, and all of the facility’s meeting rooms will be set aside for picking and jamming. There is a “quiet wing” block on one floor consisting of sleeping rooms which have been set aside for those who wish to rest and relax in a no-jamming zone.

Hotel reservations are limited. Call the Crowne Plaza Resort to reserve your room for Bluegrass First Class in Asheville, NC by calling 828-254-3211. CrownePlaza reservations must be made over the phone.

For your listening pleasure…


Bluegrass Timeline

Milton Harkey Presents the Bluegrass Album Band

The Old Numbers