The sweet, natural sound of bluegrass was nurtured in the hills and hollers of the back country.

The sweet, natural sound of bluegrass was nurtured in the hills and hollers of the back country.
This Saturday, bluegrass music takes center stage at Big Spring Park with the 4th annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival.  The traditional sound of bluegrass will fill the air on three stages accompanied by the mouth watering aroma of barbecue..
Something new this year will be three stages, not one. The main stage in the park will be the venue for groups scheduled to perform. There will also be a warm-up stage and an open jam stage. The warm up stage area will be near the Big Spring bridge and open jam will be held at the north of the park, behind the fish pond.
In previous years, groups warmed up but public interest led to a stage area just for warming up.
"Lots of people like to listen to their favorite bands, while they're warming up," Paul Richardson, Public Relations and Event Coordinator for Neosho. "Then they follow their favorites to the main stage."
Also new is an open jam stage.
"We had a a lot of local people who said they'd like to to perform," Richardson said.
So, this year, it's part of the event.  
"If they let me know ahead of time, it would make it easier and more organized."
Anyone who wants to participate in open jam should contact Richardson by calling 451-8050, texting 417-389-3301 or by emailing him at  Include the name of the band and the first three preferred times to perform to be included in the open jam line-up on Saturday.
The hours have changed and this year, the festival begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m. Admission is free but multiple food concessions will be available. Sixteen food vendors will be offering their wares with the main focus in on barbecue. In another first for the festival, Big Cat BBQ will be offer breakfast this year beginning at  8 a.m. Other available selections throughout the day  from numerous vendors will include pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, barbecued ribs, brats, bacon wrapped corn on the cob, watermelon, ice cream, shaved ice, home brew root beer, kettle corn, funnel cakes and more.  There will also be a vendor who custom builds banjoes, a new addition this year. Food vendors will be set up along Spring Street on the edge of Big Spring Park and the street will be closed.  Having a vendor corridor will allow more seating space within the park, gives the vendors a better chance to organize, and also removes any possible noise disruptions away from the music.
Shuttle service will be available all day during the festival.  Pick-up points where the public can catch a shuttle will include the northeast corner of the Neosho square and on Spring Street near the Big Spring Park Entrance. The parking lot at St. John's Episcopal Church is reserved for the handicaps and for bluegrass band members. Handicapped individuals may also be picked up at their vehicle in the downtown area.  Shuttle service is free and Richardson said, "If they flag them (a shuttle) down, they can stop and pick them up."
An information booth will be set up in front of St. John's near the park entrance along with a first aid booth. Shuttles will stop there.
The schedule and line-up of groups is:
10:00 a.m.    Greenland Station
11:00 a.m.    White River Junction
12:00 p.m.    Fiddle & Banjo
1:00 p.m.    Roving Gamblers
2:00 p.m.    Workman Bluegrass Band
3:00 p.m.    Finley River Boys
4:00 p.m.    Ripplin’ Creek
5:00 p.m.    Brightwater Junction
6:00 p.m.    Blue Irene
7:00 p.m.    Crazy Mule
8:00 p.m.    That Dalton Gang
The public is encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, or quilts for seating.  
Organizers say there will be music for your ears, food for your taste and pleasure for your soul.
The 4th annual Big Spring Bluegrass and Barbecue is Saturday, August 5 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. at Big Spring Park, downtown Neosho.