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MaupinFest is Saturday

T-G STAFF REPORT
Posted 9/22/22

MaupinFest, on Saturday, Sept. 24, is a “celebration of old-time music and dance,” honoring Thomas Maupin, who was an Eagleville native and old-time buckdancer.  

The event …

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MaupinFest is Saturday

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MaupinFest, on Saturday, Sept. 24, is a “celebration of old-time music and dance,” honoring Thomas Maupin, who was an Eagleville native and old-time buckdancer.  

The event will be at 539 Coopertown Road in Unionville. Tickets are $10 cash collected at the gate; kids aged 6 to 12 are $5 with no charge for pre-school aged children and under.  There are no additional costs to enter contests.  

The singing contest and the instrumental contests for old-time banjo, old-time fiddle, and old-time band are ageless.  The buck dancing contests are categorized as Junior 25 & under, Adult 26-50, and Senior 51 & older.  The Buck Dancing National Championship includes all ages. 

“We are strictly an old-time festival,” said Jean Williams, who helps with the festival.  

“Old-time” pre-dates bluegrass and even pre-dates World War II, according to Williams.  

“We’re one of the few that’s just strictly old-time and not clogging and old-time music and not bluegrass music. We’re trying to hold on to that genre and promote that,” she said. 

The festival began in 2019 when the Tennessee Arts Commission approached Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny about doing a festival.  They then formed Tennessee Old Time Music and Dance Association.  

The first year, Williams said they probably had around 600 people that year. Then, COVID put a pause on the festival until last year. With good weather coming, Williams expects there to be a good crowd this year.   

What to expect 

Gates open at 8 a.m. with the opening ceremony beginning at 9:50. Parking for the event is free. 

 Multiple food and craft vendors will be at the festival for you and your family to enjoy. The grounds are “alcohol-and profanity-free."  

Attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chair, but there will be a limited number of wooden benches available throughout the grounds.  

Concerts and contests will take place on a large stage in a well-shaded lot. Small pop-up canopy tents may be set up at the rear of the stage lot within the marked area.  Primitive camping is available for $10. 

But what if it rains?  

The event will still take place! However, in the event of weather safety delays, attendees may seek shelter in their vehicle and then re-enter with their armband when the storm has passed and activities resume.  Rover Baptist Church, 204 Baptist Church Road in Eagleville, serves as a Bedford County storm shelter, if needed.  

 Pets are welcome if “they are well-behaved, have safe public temperament, are cleaned-up after, and do not interfere with others' enjoyment of the festival,” according to the MaupinFest’s official website.  

 A large lighted wooden side stage platform is set up for buck dancers and there is ample space for individual dance boards on the stage grounds.  There is also a lighted square dance circle in front of the stage for concluding square dance.  

About Maupin 

Thomas Maupin, born in 1938 in Eagleville, learned buck dancing from his grandmother, who danced in a “flatfoot—often barefoot—unadorned country style.” 

In the mid-1970s, Maupin became a mainstay at music contests in the South, winning state championships in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana. 

Maupin received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, and, in 2011, earned the Tennessee Governor’s Folklife Heritage Award.  

Maupin himself will be at the festival doing a showcase of teaching buckdancing. He will then be recognized in the afternoon in conjunction with the National Buckdancing Award.  

“I really enjoy the comradery of all the people—the musicians and all the people who come that enjoy this style of music,” said Williams. “It's very heartwarming to see people backing each other up in the contest even though they’re competitors. It’s just a very heartwarming piece of Americana, and we try to celebrate the good parts of our past.”  

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/maupinfest/home 

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