Bluegrass Festivals began at Salmon Lake Park in 1976 on Labor Day, when Earl Garner dropped by and suggested that the park would be a great venue for a festival. Garner was a well-known personality and fiddle player in the bluegrass music community, known to have played with the BEST and most famous throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, and even on the Grand Ol’ Opry. A Memorial Day weekend Gospel Festival was later added.
Texas Bluegrass Music is proud to continue the tradition of Labor Weekend Festivals. Salmon Lake Park has one of the largest outdoor stages in Texas for music, weddings, and events. The seating area is completely shaded by beautiful huge trees and the breeze off the lake helps to keep things cool. It easily accommodates crowds of over 1,000 seated in lawn chairs in front of the stage.
Golf carts are available for rent to transfer people from their campers to the music area. There is a public tram that will pick up and deliver anyone needing a ride. It is fondly named the “MuleLimo” and was designed by Scott T. Armstrong, one of the festival managers. There are many long time volunteers who assist at the gate, the office and parking for the campers.
The Texas Bluegrass Music Festival starts off with a potluck supper where everyone gathers under the pavilion, rekindles old friendships and makes new ones. There are always food vendors, miscellaneous arts and crafts, and homemade items, once the festival begins.
The Festival typically starts with a 4-5 hour evening performance on Thursday, from noon until 10 p.m. or later on Fridays and Saturdays and end with a half-day performance on Sunday. 22 cabins are available for rental, with sleeping accommodations from 2 to 20. And, there are over a 450 camper hookups at the park.
There is also a 1,700 ft. airstrip open all year long with a 1,000 ft. approach.
About Salmon Lake Park
Salmon Lake Park began with the dream of Floyd and Fannie Salmon of Grapeland. They wanted to own land with lots of trees and water. In 1960, they acquired fifty acres of completely desolate land. Floyd cleared and built a lake for watering cattle. With the help of Floyd’s dad Jake, they began transforming the land into a unique, nostalgic park, which would be open for public use. The lake was cleaned and made into a beautiful swimming lake with water, a sand bottom, plenty of beaches, piers and diving boards.
Floyd moved old buildings from his hometown of Salmon with mule drawn equipment onto the property. Some of the buildings date back to the early 1900s. He and Fannie began carefully renovating each building to retain its character and appeal intact. They are now used for cabins, reunion halls, and music-pickin’ sheds when the Bluegrass Festivals are held. Floyd is still considered a pretty good guitar picker and has been known to get up on stage now and again. He manages the upkeep of the park and is still the active owner of his Building Moving Company.