I started writing this as a quick speech for the opening of Folk in the Springs and then I got carried away… as I usually do when I talk about music or High Springs.
High Springs has always been a musical town, although, many do not know this. The early days of the railroad, which passed through town monthly, brought supplies to the south. WW1 came about and the railroad brought 1000’s of soldiers through town. From this, High Springs became known as a railroad town. Also, bringing black musicians on the railroads to tiny towns, like High Springs, to entertain the soldiers and town folks alike.
There was a hotel off of Main St, where Ace Hardware is now. The hotel is where most travelers spent their time. The hotel also had a bar and a piano in it. This is where the music came alive especially “Blues Music”
The Priest Theatre was not a movie theatre at this time, it was a vaudeville house. What is vaudeville? Vaudeville was a popular style of entertainment from the mid-1890s until the early 1930s that consisted of comedians, singers, and dancers.
The sink hole, where James Paul Park is now, was a gathering place for local farmers and townspeople alike to enjoy the harvest, music and dance. Now, referred to as” Old Time” music and the style of dancing is now called contra-dance.
James Paul Park (behind now City Hall): James was a glass maker in the early 1900. He and his wife purchased this land. They did not have any children. Upon their death, they donated the land to the City.
I do not know exactly when the gazebo was built in James Paul Park, but I can tell you it has been here a long, long time. I have heard many stories of people who have performed there. The most famous is a band known as The Epics, later to evolve into Mudcrutch, which was Tom Petty’s first bands in the 70’s has performed in the gazebo.
About seven years ago, the Farm to Family concerts ended. This is where the music in the park began. When we first started using the gazebo, we noticed that it was starting to fall apart. The roof was giving in. I do feel that the Music in the Park program inevitably helped revive the gazebo with the help of the High Springs Chamber of Commerce, Jim Brown’s Signature Roofing, music in the park volunteers and many other volunteers.
Today, there is a plethora of places to hear live music in and around High Springs. Places like: the Great Outdoors Restaurant, the High Springs Brewery, The High Springs Lion’s Club, Rum 138 and of course: the High Springs Music in the Park & Concert Series Inc and more.
On the third Sunday in September, we are carrying on the musical tradition in High Springs by bringing our signature event: “Folk in the Springs” to town (a unique mix of artists, showcasing their original music, performing in the Historical District of Downtown High Springs)
When we think of “Folk “ music, we think of music that has gone by the wayside a long time ago. This simply is not true. Folk music, originally from England, Scotland and Ireland, has had a profound impact on today’s music: bringing incredible instruments and lyric driven songs to America. Folk has had an influence on every style of music, one way or another.
We hope the word “folk” doesn’t scare people off, for in modern day, it basically means original songs on acoustic instruments. Most of our local downtown stores are closed on Sundays, so it’s best to make plans to come earlier and stay thru Sunday’s Folk in the Springs. Come to High Springs and check out all we have to offer. We have a lot more than you think for such a tiny town. The corner of Nw 1st Ave and Main Street is the heart of High Springs. From here you can walk to just about everything in the Historic Downtown District from dining, shopping, museum, playhouse, theatre, James Paul Park and more.
Folk in the Springs plans on hosting more than just music. We have invited the High Springs Farmers Market, the Blood Mobile and others to join in the fun. Making this event, High Springs only free mini music festival.
1000+ attendees are expected for the upcoming free community event, Folk in the Springs, a walking tour of our Historic Downtown District showcasing nine (9) all original/acoustic-based artists from all over Florida and more performing in seven (7) different locations. This year’s line-up includes Alabama’s Artist of the Year: Abe Partridge, International touring artists: Passerine, International Blues Challenge contestant: Sweet William, newly formed: Lost Truth, String Master Arvid Smith, St Augustine’s Denny Blue, Jacksonville’s award winning duo: Bear & Robert and Gainesville’s favorite band for over 20 years: Sno Rogers.
High Springs Music in the Park & Concert Series is a Florida 501 © (3) all volunteer non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting local, regional and national touring acoustic based artists.
“Bringing Exceptional Artists to Downtown High Springs” is our goal and passion!
This year we are sponsored in part by: High Springs CRA, City of High Springs, High Springs Chamber, Ginnie Springs, Great Outdoors, Ameris Bank, with support from the North Florida Folk Network and many more. Free Ice cold water until 4pm is supplied by Nestle and the Ice Cube Express.