Folks, the Emcee (MC) has been the ringmaster of the musical stage since cavepersons first began holding entertainment events. Sadly, it is a dying art. You just don't see emcees at music festivals like you used to. The John Hartford Memorial Festival is determined to entertain, educate and inform and we intend to revive and keep alive, this disappearing art. Our emcees were approached and selected because of their genuine personalities and ability to communicate and enunciate, while chewing on a biscuit.

We are not all professional radio folk, that’s not the qualification. We are people persons, fearless, fans of the music of John Hartford and we will remind you throughout this festival of our mission to remain laid back, green and fun. 
Our former Grand Master of Ceremonies, the honorable Sam Jackson from Greenbrier TN has been a fixture at Bean Blossom since 1971, and has been our Emcee and treasured friend, since the inception of the John Hartford Memorial
Festival.
Sam has decided to join the ranks of the truly laid back, and retire. Sam will always be welcome to our festival, and will remain in spirit. Our new Grand Master of Ceremonies is the honorable Hondo Thompson, from Nashville, IN.



 

Hondo Thompson

Hondo Thompson
I was born in the 1960s and began wandering hither and yon after only 6 months on the planet. My homes have ranged from Okinawa Japan to the native village of Aniak, Alaska. I’ve worked from the office cubicals of environmental agencies to the decks of fishing boats in the waters of Bristol Bay. But after all of that, it is my little 1930s log cabin in the woods and hills of southern Indiana that I am happy to call “home” for the last decade. From day one of moving here I have been a delighted volunteer of WFHB (Volunteer powered, community radio for south central Indiana) which has afforded me the opportunities to be in front of the Microphone for several awesome local events such as the BIRA’s Bayou Boogie, the Acoustic Roots Festival, the Lotus Festival, Hillbilly Haiku, and others.

Hondo Thompson

Without a doubt the highlight of my oratorical adventures has been, bar none, being on Bill Monroe’s famous stage under the tutelage of Mr. Sam Jackson at the John Hartford Memorial Festival. It is a thrill and an honor to be back at the “most laid back festival on the planet” to help honor the legendary John Hartford and bring to our stages the amazingly enduring music and song that is his legacy. I am looking forward to meeting and hanging out with every one of you.

Dave Bellavia

Dave Bellavia, of Tulsa, Oklahoma,  I have been attending and working music festivals for 20+ years. I am committed to providing an environment in which performers love performing and make their best music.  Of equal importance to me is the the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of the audience. We've all spent a good bit of our time, and money getting to Bean Blossom because the John Hartford Memorial Festival represents a special opportunity to achieve magic-to create a musical paradise where the best musicians play their best sets in front of audiences who cannot imagine missing those sets.  It is an honor to serve and enjoy with the most
                                               Dave Bellavia
dedicated, professional staff and crew in the business.  JHMF is simply a no-miss family affair.

Ernie Hill

Ernie Hill
I live with my soul mate/wife, Patti, in the southern foothills of the Arkansaw Ozarks. I'm a singer songwriter, copy writer, freelance journalist and I've written a novel and several short stories, not published yet, I'm working on that, and a manual type blurb on songwriting, "The Cosmic Path to Melody and Lyric", available at my website. I also write most of what the JHMF puts out in all areas of media and coined our fest nickname, "The Most Laid Back Festival in America". I also manage and host the John Hartford Memorial Festival Songwriter's Challenge songwriting contest, and am the emcee coordinator. I am a staff writer for the Walnut Valley festival going on 24 years, I'm also an alternate emcee there. I have spent a great deal of my writing life helping other musicians and artists by writing their reviews and stories, and publishing at www.wordsofernest.com, ifiddle.com and nodepression.com, as well as several other music rags and eZines. 
It was after the 1st JHMF, that I met Jeff Mankins, of the Steam Powered Preservation Society, who led me to John Hotze, lifelong friend of John Hartford and founder of our festival. I wrote John Hotze's story and published it at nodepression. That story and others are archived here at this website on the Morning Bugle page, a blog and news page I write for the festival.  When I told John Hotze I was a songwriter, he challenged me to write a song for the festival. I wrote "Tribute to John Hartford" and it became the foundation for our songwriting contest and is considered our honorary theme song. This song used several Hartford titles in it and was about John and the festival. It is included in Deep Fried Pickle Project"s John Hartford Tribute album, "Up On The Hill", along with several other fest related bands. It was released at the 2015 festival. I am honored to be a part of all of this. I am honored to have worked in the presence of Sam Jackson, whom I deeply respect, and I am honored to be involved with such a great crew of emcees, and I am tickled to be part of a festival that believes in keeping this tradition alive. Good to know you. I'm also a nut, and I'm proud of that too.

Kurt Hubbard


Hello! I am Kurt Hubbard, 30 year old man-child and although Indiana is the 11th state that I've lived in, I've spent the majority of my life here and will always consider this to be my home.  After high school I spent time all across the state from Fort Wayne to the Lafayettes and I now reside just up the road from the beautiful Bean Blossom, Bill Monroe Park.  When I first relocated to the area I met up with some friends in the area that I hadn't seen since high school and we had some drinks and caught up.  It turned out that they had gotten together at IU and started playing music together.  That's the day my life forever changed for the better. They graciously took me under their collective wings and introduced me to the greatest community of music and people I could have ever imagined.  This band was The New Old Cavalry.  In my time spent on the road with these guys who have become my second family, nothing was ever talked of with more fondness then the John Hartford Memorial Festival.  I have fought the fever that bluegrass brings and went out and got myself an upright bass in hopes that I could learn and contribute to the party. I highly encourage everyone regardless of age to do the same! This year will be my third year in attendance and as long as I live and breath I don't think anything will ever be able to keep me away.  This is home and I hope you all enjoy it at least a fraction as much as I do!

Sam Jackson-our first emcee, retired 2017

"Sam Jackson here, a little about me and my association with the John Hartford Memorial Festival, first of all, got to pay respect to the Bill Monroe Music Park, the mecca of Bluegrass Music, so much history and tradition there. Never forget the importance that this property and this stage has played, such a major part of American Music. the most prestigious festival ground in the world, a reminder to keep in the back of your mind as you work this stage, not to be taken lightly. I have been going to Bean Blossom since' 71, have been involved in about every facet of the business, from radio, band leader, promoter, some writing, stage manager, and master of ceremonies all over the U.S. and Canada. I have worked all the festivals at Bean Blossom for many years. John Hartford was a good friend and to be able to be a part of the start of this historical beginning was an honor.















Hondo Thompson and Sam Jackson
I have to say, of all festivals I have ever worked regardless of location, this is by far the most laid back, the most enjoyable I have ever been a part of. Never since the start of this event have I heard any complaints from anyone, bands, fans, vendors, or the numerous volunteers. This event is truly in the John Hartford mindset, great for all involved whether working bands or audiences. It is truly an honor to be a part of what will soon become the most sought after festival to be a part of since music festivals began.
Always bear in mind when you step to the microphone, all the musical masters in Bluegrass have played and performed here. So much history and tradition here, never forget the importance that this property and this stage have played, such a major part of American music, the most prestigious festival ground in the world, a reminder to keep in the
of your mind as you work this stage, not to be taken lightly."

Laura Culbertson

Laura Culbertson
I was working backstage at my first bluegrass festival both the first and last time I met John Hartford. It was a stormy autumn afternoon, and John and his band were getting ready for their sound check when I arrived. We ended up spending the day getting to know each other and I, started my bluegrass education. Sitting opposite John and his family in his travel RV later that evening, I knew this was a moment I wouldn't forget.

Laura Culbertson

My life has taken many turns since that time, but reminders of that meeting with John remain. I married a musician who caught my eye that day, and after settling in Nashville, we found that the home the Hartfords made along the Cumberland river lies just a quick drive up the road. I'm looking forward to being a part of a festival dedicated to celebrating John and his music. See you there!!

Matt Scherger

Matt Scherger
Hi! My name is Matt Scherger but everyone calls me 'Shoog'. I'm from Kokomo, IN, I'm a musician, and the acting bandleader for Woodstove Flapjacks. I'm a collector of 78s, primarily prewar hillbilly, jazz, blues and gospel. A tall tale teller and lover of all things salted, smoked and cured. Generally you'll find me eating bacon, talkin' music, and trying to love life. See you at Bean Blossom!

Matt Scherger

Bill Poss

I’m a troubadour, songwriter, festival promoter and performer from Effingham, IL. After 20 years on the road, living in a truck, an RV and then a bus, I settled back in my home town and founded the Moccasin Creek Festival and Grapevine Bluegrass Festival. I grew up listening to my Dad and his bands playing Hartford tunes and have been coming to the festival since I first heard about it in 2015. 
I have made most of my livelihood playing my music all over North America, Europe and New Zealand. I have an 8 year old son, Blue, who has mostly been on the road since he was born and he still tours frequently with his mom, Tif Ginn and step-dad, Fred Eaglesmith. I have 5 CDs, one travelogue and a memoir in the works. I’m very excited to be performing at this year’s Hartford Festival on Thursday and Saturday nights. 
www.billpossmusic.com

Tim Baker

Hello People, I have been involved in Bloomington's music  and carpentry scene for the past ten years.  My musical projects include Chainsaw Mondays, Carpenter and Clerk, and 220 Breakers, The Merrie Sloan Band and John Dehner and the Enthusiasts. I am also co-creater and host of Bloomington's finest house show music venue, The Switchyard.  When I found John Hartford and his music it brought legitimacy to my life. I draw inspiration from John Hartford's music and life style. Stoked to be a part of this!