To: billhilly; Askel5; Graybeard58
It was also at this time that the group decided to give something back to Staunton, deciding to host a community-wide concert and festival at Gypsy Hill Park, beginning in 1970. The event evolved into Happy Birthday USA.
One thing the above article fails to make clear is that these annual concerts were done completely free. Over all the years they did them, the Statlers made not one penny off them -- not directly, anyway. There was no admission charge. Doing that probably cost them.
The community benefited, though. People would come from all over the country, and local non-profits would piggy-back and pick up a dime or two. So would the motels, restaurants, and everybody else.
I will forever regret that I did not live here then, nor did I ever attend one of these concerts. I know the park. I sometimes take my dog walking there. It's a nice park. Family. Putting 50,000 peple in there would be a lot.
I don't know of any other group of their stature that has done something like that. Maybe one time, but not annually like they did.
The impact they had around here is enormous. Roads are named after them. In Waynesboro, we have Lew DeWitt Drive.
Good music, decent people. Very decent.
To: The Other Harry
Thanks for that information. I live in Virginia also, and I never did get down to Staunton for one of their annual performances, but that did not stop me from admiring them.
I sent a link to the article that was posted here to a friend of mine who was a top rate music industry executive in Nashville for about thirty years. The following is a part of his reply.
" I too loved The Statlers and one of my fondest memories in Nashville was hanging out at their hotel on West End and showing cowboy movies on the side of a building across from their hotel. They used to collect old cowboy movies and they couldn't get it big enough in their room so Harold just opened the door and there was a big white building across the parking lot from their hotel and they used that as their screen. As you rode down West End Avenue and looked up in the air, there was the Durango Kid, Hoppalong Cassidy, Lash Larue, and others from the Old West compliments of The Statler Brothers! They were really super nice guys and funny to be around.
Thanks for directing me to the site. Enjoyed visiting it and checking in on them. Really hated it when Lew had to leave the group and later passed away but Jimmy stepped right in and did a great job."
posted on 10/28/2003 4:39:54 AM PST
(If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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