3 SIS­TERS keeps rolling along

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - SPOTLIGHT - BY BARRY COURTER STAFF WRITER

Ge­orge Bright says that de­ci­sions in his fam­ily don’t usu­ally take much time to make. Even when it in­volves some­thing as big as stag­ing a multi-act, multi-day blue­grass fes­ti­val that is free to the pub­lic. Bright got the idea af­ter see­ing an ar­ti­cle in a blue­grass magazine sent to him by his fa­ther, the late Fletcher Bright, about a free fes- tival in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky.

“I’ve al­ways been evan­gel­i­cal about blue­grass and I’d pro­moted mu­sic with Bruce Ka­plan at Bark­ing Legs for awhile, and the [Fletcher Bright] com­pany was spon­sor­ing Night­fall, so I called Carla [Pritchard at Chat­tanooga Present, which pro­duces Night­fall] and said, ‘Hey, if we throw a free fes­ti­val down on the river, would you be in­volved?’ She said, ‘Sure.’

“So I walked down the hall into Dad’s of­fice and told him I had

idea on how we could throw a free blue­grass fes­ti­val. The whole thing took about 90 sec­onds.”

That was 12 years ago, and the 2018 ver­sion of the 3 Sis­ters Blue­grass Fes­ti­val is this week­end. It fea­tures nearly a dozen acts in­clud­ing head­lin­ers In­fa­mous String­dusters.

De­cid­ing on a name for the fes­ti­val took a lit­tle bit longer to de­cide, sort of, Bright says.

“We called it 3 Sis­ters on a lark. We couldn’t think of a name, so my sis­ter Lizzer said, ‘ Why not name it af­ter us?’ and that has turned out to be fun.”

He says Lizzer and sis­ters Ann and Lucy now help with mar­ket­ing, de­sign­ing T- shirts and posters, and with the hos­pi­tal­ity and ven­dor co­or­di­na­tion.

“They’ve re­ally got­ten in­volved and it’s been a real fam­ily thing.”

This year’s fes­ti­val will fea­ture a 3 Sis­ters IPA craft beer by Heaven & Ale just for the event.

“That will be fun,” Bright says.

Fletcher Bright died in De­cem­ber and leaves be­hind a legacy of phi­lan­thropy in the arts com­mu­nity in gen­eral and the blue­grass com­mu­nity in par­tic­u­lar. He co- founded The Dis­mem­bered Ten­nesseans in the 1940s while a stu­dent at McCal­lie School and per­formed with it for more than seven decades.

Bright says the fam­ily will honor him in their own way since, “If he thought we would come up on stage and talk about him, he would cringe.”

For Bright, the best part of the fes­ti­val has been meet­ing peo­ple from all over the coun­try who have trav­eled to Chat­tanooga to hear a va­ri­ety of blue­grass mu­sic and per­haps dis­cover a new fa­vorite act or style.

“I love that the purists might hear some pro­gres­sive mu­sic and like it, and the younger peo­ple who might like pro­gres­sive mu­sic will hear some tra­di­tional mu­sic.”

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