‘Mini Opry’ to be highlight of Hank Fest in May

Published 2:21 pm Monday, April 11, 2011

The 32nd Annual Salute to a Legend returns to Georgiana Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21 to the Hank Williams Music Park as Butler County celebrates its most famous native son.

This year’s lineup of entertainers includes Nashville recording artists, Gene Watson, Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, David Frizzell, Jimmy Fortune, Razzy Bailey, and the legendary singer’s daughter, Jett Williams.

The format for Friday will remain the same as in the past with Gene Watson, Jeff Whitlow, Brad Magness, and several others sharing the stage.

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On Saturday, the music will begin at around 9 am. It will conclude with a “Traditional Country Mini Opry”, hosted by Jett Williams.

“I think this will be one of the greatest festivals we’ve ever had,” said Jett. “I know it will have the greatest collection of country singers that has ever been on the Georgiana stage. Not only is it going to be great, it’s so different.”

According to Williams, David McCormick of WSM in Nashville is coming down to tape the show for broadcast on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

“Don’t you think the Hank Williams fans in Europe and Australia are going to be thrilled to hear all the music coming directly from where Hank grew up?” she said.

“We’re going to do the first half of the show just like they did when Dad and E. T. (Ernest Tubb) did it when they came over after finishing up at the Opry. It will be kind of loose, with the other entertainers being able to offer comments and jokes. During the second half of the performance, it will be all music and lots of singing.”

“Razzy” Bailey, who was born in Lafayette, Alabama, cut his first recording in 1949 at the age of ten. By 15, he was the leader of a string band.

In 1981 Bailey was named Billboard magazine’s “Country Singles Artist of the Year.” The albums Razzy (1980), Makin’ Friends (1981), Feelin’ Right, and A Little More Razzy (both 1982) were also very successful.

Scheduled to appear earlier on Saturday are: Mary McDonald, Colon Leatherwood,  Georgiana’s own Starla Jones, Frank Brannon, Frank Tuma, Vinny D’Amico, Slim Pickins, Traditional country, Johnny Miller, Elaine McMillan, Jackson Capps, Mike Mathews, Jerry and Lisa Queen, and the Southern Legends, another group of local talents along with remaining members of Hank’s band “The Drifting Cowboys,” Clent Holmes, Pee Wee Moultrie, and Braxton Schufert.

Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m, there will be a free karaoke session.   Friday, May, 20, fans can enter the park at 3 p.m. Admission is $15. Barbecue plates will be available at 5 .pm. for $10.

Saturday, May 21, the gates open at 8 a.m. with a $25 admission fee.

A special weekend ticket, which will be good for both days, can be bought for $30, through May 19. This is a savings of $10 over the regular single-day admission price. This ticket must be purchased in advance. To order, or for additional information, call 334-376-2396, or log on to: www.hankwilliamsfestival.com.

To order tickets, or for additional information, call 334-376-2396, or log on to: www.hankwilliamsfestival.com.