Music festival taking root



June 12, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Cool breezes carried the sound of bluegrass and honky-tonk music over the weekend during the Lehigh Roots Festival at Elks Lake.
The bucolic setting was perfect for those with nothing more on their minds than relaxation.
The family-oriented event offered camping, fishing, swimming, kayaking and a slew of entertainment.
Guests made themselves at home in creative ways. Steven Stockebrand, Piqua, for example, brought a custom-made recliner. Taken from a 1995 Toyota Camry, the bucket seat was equipped with a welded box frame and caster wheels.
Keeping in step with the theme, vendor Jim Williams Jr., Joplin, Mo., set up camp with a number of his bluegrass-themed cigar-box guitars. He learned how to craft  the 1920’s  inspired “mountain instruments” from his uncle, Eric Cole, of Humboldt.
“People could see the Martins hanging in the windows and they couldn’t afford them so they went home and made them with broomsticks and frying pans,” Williams said of the class guitars.
Clay Shannon and Trenton Heisler, both of Humboldt, showed little interest in the music. Instead, they could be found trying to catch something to put in a frying pan.They caught a 2-pound largemouth bass on Friday, but had no luck Saturday evening.
The festival helps fund Elks Club projects including this year’s July 4 event and Christmas baskets, Exalted Ruler Jon Wells said.  
“The only reason we have existed in Iola, Kansas for about 100 years is to give back to the community,” he said.  
The club gradually has become the third largest in the state, after Chanute and Parsons, and continues to seek new members, according to Wells.
THIS WAS the first time Eddie Crane, Matthew Hawkins and Martin Krob of the Loaded Goats band have played for the festival, now in its second year. On track with the light spirit of the evening, Krob joked that the band’s music is like bluegrass on steroids. All three band members work outside jobs.
“We’ve got like 37 new songs we need to put on an album,” Crane said. “It’s a close race with us making a new album and people setting foot on Mars.”

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