Aiken Bluegrass Festival boosting economy, donating proceeds to local equine therapy center

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – A local festival is bringing some of the biggest names in Bluegrass to the CSRA.

Through tax incentives the Aiken Bluegrass Festival is attracting visitors to the “All America City” from both the East and West Coast.

“He started this technically 14 years ago as a dinner party, not intending this to become a Bluegrass festival,” said Aiken Bluegrass Festival Director Christian Shaumann.

Now in its 13th year, the Aiken Bluegrass Festival has grown to become nationally recognized for its unique collaborations between top Bluegrass artists live on stage.

“It’s providing something that this town desperately needs,” Shumann told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “It’s great when you have local bands and local entertainment, and it’s great for your economy, but it’s not expanding your economy.”

Volunteers worked tirelessly all week to transform the Fair Grounds into a destination for festival goers.

“We attract fans as far away as Oregon, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia just to name a few.” Artist Liaison Will Gibbs said.

“This is a party for a community and we give the money right back to charity,” Shaumann said. “To help out a great program with Great Oak Therapeutic Riding program.”

Since it’s beginning, the Aiken Bluegrass Festival has donated all the proceeds to Great Oak Therapeutic Riding Center.

Shaumann says nearly $250,000 dollars in more than a decade.

Great Oak Executive Director Jennifer Flanagan says the generous donation has been crucial to their mission of providing people with physical, emotional and psychological disabilities a unique type of rehab.

“It’s not just about coming and riding a horse,” Flanagan told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “It’s actually about providing the right type of environment, and that’s an environment that helps not only children, but young adults and people, that are growing to think you know what if I can ride a horse than I can go out and I can do this.”

You can purchase a ticket, click here.

FESTIVAL LINEUP: 

Friday, May 12th – Gates open at noon.

  • Doug and the Henrys
  • The Herman Clan
  • Guitacolypse Now
  • Super Jam 1 (Andy Thorn, Billy, Jay Starling, Allie Kral, Travis Book, and more.)
  • The Infamous Stringdusters

Saturday, May 13th – Gates open at noon.

  • Gipsy Moon Band
  • Brad Parsons Band ft. Members of the Fruition
  • Lindsay Lou & The Ladies (Jenny Keel, Mimi Naja, Allie Kral, Lindsay Lou and Mackenzie Page)
  • ABF Super Jam 2
  • Larry Keel Experience
  • Billy Strings
  • Fruition

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