This Friday Question & Answer feature was conducted with Brandon Hughett. In addition to chairing the Scott County Chamber of Commerce's Tourism Committee, Hughett is a pilot at Hughett Aviation and a bass player/vocalist with Great Day In The Morning, a local bluegrass band that will perform at Saturday's Big South Fork Bluegrass & Bike Festival.
IH: Where did the inspiration come from for this bluegrass and bike festival?
Brandon Hughett: This idea started back in January at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. There was some mention about a Saturday in September being open, and Cheryl Cribbett came up with the idea of mountain bikes and road bikes in our area. That's a new thing in our area, so we wanted to promote that. And we wanted to invite the local bluegrass fans out for a free concert. So that's where it came from and it just started from there. We formed a committee and went forward with it.
IH: What should people expect at the festival?
BH: First of all, a lot of fun. We're going to have bluegrass artists from all over our region and from Nashville. We're excited about the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band with Leroy Troy coming up. Leroy Troy has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and the Marty Stuart Show. Along with our artists, we've got road bike trails around the rural roads of Scott County, the mountain bike trails of the Big South Fork available, kids bicycle events at the park with the Boys & Girls Club. Just a fun day at the park. We've got trackless train rides. We've got a little something for everybody.
IH: If I don't like bluegrass and I've never been on a bike, what's in it for me?
BH: You've got kids' activities. Bring the family out. It's free. It's a beautiful park. It'll be a great afternoon to come out. The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, they're not just solely a bluegrass band. They're a comedy band. They mix a little bit of bluegrass, a little bit of comedy, a little bit of country. All of the artists in the Jug Band played for country artists. Some of them for Clint Black, some for Faith Hill, for numerous artists over the years. So it's not just solely a bluegrass event. It'll have some country kick to it too. So it'll be a lot of fun for the whole family.
IH: Lately there has been a lot of attention on Scott County in regards to bicycling opportunities. What is the draw here for bicyclists?
BH: First of all, it's a rural area. There's a lot of opportunity here with the Big South Fork National Park, with the new bike trails that are there and that are IMBA epic-rated. So there's a number of opportunities to get away from the city and enjoy the outdoors here. We've never done the road bikes before here, so maybe this is our first step towards bringing a whole new user group to our area.
IH: With this being a first-time event, what do you expect and what are your hopes?
BH: Well, with the weather forecast, I expect a warm day and a clear day. Hopefully we'll get a little bit of a breeze. I expect a lot of people here. With the bikes, we really don't know what to expect. We don't know whether we'll have 5 bikes or 50 bikes. I'd expect around 25 bikes. But, I expect it to be just a fun day for everybody, for the whole family. That's what I really expect.
IH: Is this a one-time deal or an annual event?
BH: We'll have to wait and see. I think our hopes is to make this an annual thing. But I think we need to get the first one off the ground and see where it goes from there.
IH: Anything to add?
BH: I'm excited about it. I'm excited that we put this thing together in less than nine months. It's an event that I wish we could've started the planning on a year ago or more. But in nine months we've managed to put together an entire festival for Scott County that invites the entire community but most of all is a free event for everyone. So it's a free opportunity to come out and have fun.