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Joel Sweeney and the Banjo Festival
September 8 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pmFree
Join us for this free day of entertainment and a step back in history to explore a different story of the Park!
Because Joel Sweeney was born, lived, died, and is buried in what is now Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the park is uniquely situated to host the Sweeney musical festival in his home village. Appomattox Court House NHP, the Appomattox 1865 Foundation, and the North Carolina School of Traditional Music will feature the 5th Annual Joel Sweeney and the Banjo Festival at the park on Saturday, September 8th from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The day will be filled with music that reflects the legacy and influence of Joel Sweeney and the banjo in American popular music.
To complement the music, educational stations will share stories of Sweeney and the early banjo. The day will also include a specialized tour of the Charles Sweeney (cousin of Joel) Cabin also located inside the park and just outside the village. The Appomattox 1865 Foundation raised $25K for the recent completion of the restoration of the cabin. The afternoon will culminate with a concert by all the participating musicians of traditional, “Sweeney Style” music in the shadows of the Clover Hill Tavern in the heart of Joel’s hometown.
9 – 10 a.m.: Early banjo music performances on the Clover Hill Tavern Porch
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Walking tour of the Charles Sweeney Cabin
Noon: The Joel Sweeney Proclamation Reading and Performances on the Tavern Porch.
1 – 2 p.m.: Early Banjo Performances throughout the Village.
2 – 3p.m.: The Banjo: America’s African Instrument – Laurent Dubois
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.: Afternoon Concert by the Sweeney Players (and others) at the Clover Hill Tavern
The Sweeney Players consists of musicians from the North Carolina School of Traditional Music and friends who specialize in playing Sweeney era songs. Among this group are performers who have been instrumental in establishing the banjo festival in the Park.