The promoter of an outdoor bluegrass festival recently held at the Lewis Family Homeplace near Lincolnton, Ga., said both fans and entertainers played it safe with social distancing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Ernie Evans, owner of Evans Media Source based in Satsuma, Fla., said of the “Save Our Summer” Music Fest held June 26-27, “The bands were so happy just to get on stage in front of an audience again, and they performed like I have never seen before. It was all so amazing and self rewarding.”

Among the nationally known groups were The Malpass Brothers and The Kody Norris Show.

“We had a great event that went according to plan other than an unexpected thunderstorm,” Evans related.

“Everyone was great to work with and adapted well to the new measures put in place for safety precautions due to COVID-19.

“We had many wearing masks and making good use of the hand sanitizers and hand washing stations we had put in place,” Evans continued. “Social distancing was a new one, but we handled it very well. We had a few ushers who helped people comply with all of the 6-foot grids we had striped throughout the facility.”

Bluegrass music legend Janis Lewis Phillips, former lead vocalist of The Lewis Family bluegrass/gospel group based in Lincolnton, cut a ribbon to open the festival.

“She welcomed everyone to the Homeplace where she was born, got married and celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary,” Evans said. “It was very moving to say the least.”

Phillips is the last surviving sister of The Lewis Family following the deaths of her siblings Polly and Miggie Lewis, who were part of the nationally-performing group along with their father Roy “Pop” Lewis; brothers, Little Roy and Wallace Lewis; and nephews, Lewis Phillips and Travis Lewis.

They have been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and several bluegrass and gospel music halls of fame.

Evans said the event also was highlighted by property owners, Jeff & Sheri Easter, being presented a check for $2,000 to be used for improvements to the Lewis Family Homeplace historic site and museum.

The Easters also are internationally known from their regular appearances on the “Gaither Homecoming” network TV specials.

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