By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK─ The American Banjo Museum will present the 2018 Banjo Fest from September 6 – 8. The focus of the event will be on Oklahoma City as the American Banjo Museum honors the 2018 inductees into their Hall of Fame with three days of banjo-centric events.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees include Bela Fleck, Borgy Borgerson, Hub Nitchie/Banjo Newsletter, Jim Henson, and Eddie Collins.
“Each year we strive to honor banjo’s best of the best from both the past and the present and this year is no exception,” said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. “Like past inductees, each of this year’s honorees has displayed a lifelong commitment to the banjo and changed the way the public sees and hears America’s instrument.”
Festivities begin on Thursday, September 6 with a “Welcome Reception and BBQ” at 6 p.m., at the American Banjo Museum, 9 E Sheridan Avenue, including a barbeque meal, beer, wine, and soft drinks.
The event will feature live music by the Philadelphia Mummers, Taylor Pfieffer and Tim Allan; the presentation of the prestigious ABM Awards of Excellence as well as an introduction to the new Philadelphia Mummers – Struttin’ Their Stuff exhibit. Tickets are $30.
The Philadelphia Mummers exhibit includes six colorful costumes ranging from sequin bejeweled clowns and jesters to a kid friendly version of Frankenstein. The exhibit features rare vintage photos, the Mummer history and a video salute.
A special Banjo Newsletter Workshop will be held at the Museum on Friday, September 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with musicians Eddie Collins, Janet Davis and Tony Trischka. Tickets are $60.
Friday evening, the 2018 American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony will take place at VAST restaurant atop Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City. Honoring the five ABM inductees, the event, from 6 – 10 p.m., will feature a reception, dinner and cash bar along with musical performances by Tony Trischka, John McEuen, David Stephens, Tim Allan and Johnny Baier. Tickets are $60.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. informal performances by David Stephens, Johnny Baier, Taylor Pfieffer and the Philadelphia Mummers will take place at the Museum, as well as the Grand Opening of the Jim Henson – Life and Legacy exhibit.
On Saturday evening, at 7 p.m., the third annual BANJO FEST concert takes the stage at the Hudiburg Chevrolet Performing Arts Center at Rose State College in Midwest City featuring Bela Fleck, John McEuen, Ton Trischka and Tim Allan.
Following the concert, the weekend concludes with a post-concert Afterglow party at the American Banjo Museum from 10 p.m. until midnight offering a pizza buffet, beer, wine and soft drinks. Tickets are $25.
“Our museum and Hall of Fame celebration brings people from around the world to Oklahoma City,” said Baier. “During this special weekend, the banjo spotlight is on our city and, as all of our Hall of Fame weekend events are open to the public, it’s a great opportunity for Oklahoma City to show its support.”
Previously, the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to honor jazz age four-string banjo pioneers as well as the contemporary artists, educators, manufacturers and promoters who carried on the traditions of their predecessors.
In the beginning, the American Banjo Museum was an extension of that Hall of Fame. In the years preceding 2014, the Hall of Fame honored 71 individuals and entities in the four-string banjo world whose career accomplishments might have otherwise gone unrecognized.
In the years following, the museum grew to embrace all types of banjos and playing styles, In 2013, the American Banjo Museum board of directors voted to establish an annual performance category to honor all styles of five-string banjo playing as well as opening the other previously four-string banjo exclusive non-performance categories to all types of banjos.
With this move the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame was established. The American Banjo Museum “reveals the artistry that goes into crafting highly ornate instruments and the skill and talent that goes into playing them.”
According to Baier, “the American Banjo Museum brings history and art together in a song hundreds of years in the making.”
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites OKC/Bricktown, adjacent to the American Banjo Museum, will be the host hotel for this celebration. A special rate of $149 per night is available. Reservations can be made by calling 888-HOLIDAY and mention “Group A18”
The Banjo Fest Sept 6-8 – Full Weekend Package for $125 includes: Welcome Reception, Hall of Fame Dinner, Banjo Fest VIP Seating, Afterglow Party. *Does not include Banjo Workshop. Banjo Fest VIP seating is $35.
All Hall of Fame events are open to the public. For more information on the Hall of Fame weekend, visit banjofest2018.com or call 405-604-2793. To learn more about the American Banjo Museum or to become a member, visit americanbanjomuseum.com or call 405-604-2793.