Black Diamond Music

A crowd approaches the main stage as the Kentucky Headhunter make their appearance June 11 at the first Black Diamond Music and Art Festival at Hocking College.

NELSONVILLE – On June 10–11, Hocking College hosted 20 country and bluegrass artists for the inaugural Black Diamond Music and Arts Festival. The two-day event featured a variety of musical acts, as well as locally-inspired arts and crafts, and food and beverage vendors from the Southeast Ohio region.

“Hocking College is a perfect venue for this event,” said Sean Terrell, dean of workforce development and community engagement in a news release. “The campus offers 2,300 acres of pristine Appalachian foothills perfect for live music, camping, and a variety of activities that highlight the natural assets of the region. Add in the academic programs, dorms, and tremendous faculty and staff and you’ve got everything you need for a unique, Southeast Ohio-inspired experience.”

The Black Diamond Music and Arts Festival was organized and executed by staff and students at the college, providing students the opportunity to practice the skills reinforced throughout the college’s academic programs including culinary, construction management, fermentation science, public safety, music management, and allied health.

Friday night kicked off the weekend on the Rocky Stage with Murphy, former American Idol sensation, performing his style of rock and roll, folk, and soul. Following Murphy on the Rocky Stage were The Steel Woods, an American country music group from Nashville, Tennessee. Headliners for the Friday night concert included the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and musician Marty Stuart and the multi-platinum, award-winning recording artist Elle King.

Friday night also featured performances by Cole Cave Hollow Boys, a regional bluegrass band; Charlie Woods, a progressive bluegrass singer-songwriter; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, named the 2019 Entertainers of the Year by International Bluegrass Music Association. The night was capped off by another wonderful performance by Murphy.

Shane Runion, a Nashville recording artist, opened the festival on Saturday on the Pepsi Stage in Robbins Crossing, entertaining the crowd with original music telling the stories of Appalachia. Nathan Whitt sang unique original material, followed by Jonalee White, and The Late Nite Drivers, who brought tons of energy to the festival. Erin Enderlin and her superb vocals also performed on the Pepsi Stage followed by the Flying Buffaloes, Nashville-based alt-country rockers. Saturday’s Pepsi Stage lineup concluded with the Songwriters Roundup.

Music started Saturday on the Rocky Stage at 2 p.m. with McGuffey Lane, one of the midwest’s most popular bands, followed by American singer-songwriter Sunny Sweeney. The evening performances on Rocky Stage included Red Clay Strays, who combine country music with southern rock, The Kentucky Headhunters, an American country and southern rock band, and finally Elvie Shane, the man behind heartwarming country hits including “My Boy.”

The acoustic stage on Saturday started at 2 p.m. with Murphy, followed by Abby Miller, Josh Morningstar, and Jimmy Clepper.

The festival also featured a variety of vendors on-site at Robbin’s Crossing selling unique, handmade, and practical merchandise. Vendors included: Many Moons, Chique Boutique, Big Style Promo, Calrapatra’s, Knot, Just Hemp, Marry’s County Corner, Celestial Caverns, The Salty Otter, Robin’s Concessions, Myan Treasures, Foggy River Candle, Touch Of Green Farms, Rocky Outdoor Gear Store, and Adventure Pro.

Local food trucks were on site including Dirty Girl Coffee, Hungry Hawk, Weldons’ Ice Cream, A-Town Pies and Fries, Dr. May’s Thai Kitchen, Arctic Fox Shaved Ice, Cheesy Weenie, Tornado Potato, Athenian Wrapsody, Lemon Shake-Ups, and Johnny’s Dog Box.

A beer tent at Robbin’s Crossing offered a variety of wine and beer, including Hocking College student-brewed beers, Budweiser, and Hocking Hills Wine. The college also sponsored a Kid Zone tent with different activities for kids.

To learn more about Hocking College and its programs, email or call 740-753-7050.

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