Foxfire Music & Arts Festival Set to Rock Ashland Riverfront



Josh Blanton

For The Beacon

   The Paramount Arts Center will host the inaugural FoxFire Music & Arts Festival September 24 and 25 at the Ashland Riverfront. The two-day festival features 14 bands and visual and performing artists from around the country. The lineup includes highly anticipated performances by Whiskey Myers, Blues Traveler and Old Crow Medicine Show. Doors will open at 2 p.m. each day with performances from 3 to 11 p.m. 

   The FoxFire Music & Arts Festival pays tribute to the late Jean Bell-Thomas of Ashland. Beginning in September 1930, Bell-Thomas staged the first annual American Folk Song Festival at her home in Boyd County. “Many people don’t realize that Ashland is one of the birth places for music festivals in our country,” said Holly Canfield, Executive Director of the Paramount, “The American Folk Song Festival was the first of its kind.”

   At the beginning of Bell-Thomas’ festival, she would blow a fox horn that was given to her by Devil Anse Hatfield, from the Hatfield and McCoy feud. The Paramount has partnered with the Highland’s Museum to secure the fox horn used by Jean Bell-Thomas and plans to continue her tradition. “We were originally calling our event the FoxHorn Festival, but it just didn’t have that certain ring to it,” Canfield said. “We finally settled on FoxFire – a tribute to the past and a new beginning for music festivals in Ashland, we hope it catches on like wildfire.”

   Like most music and arts venues around the U.S., the Paramount has struggled to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. Proactive leadership by Paramount board of directors and staff has poised them to pick up where they left off. Thanks to their hard work, along with the dedicated volunteers, the Paramount has presented multiple sold out shows since re-opening in the Spring.

   The FoxFire festival will not only feature music, but also artists and live art demonstrations. A pre-party concert at the Boyd County Convention & Arts Center will also take place on Thursday, September 23 from 7 to 10 p.m., and include the nationally known act Sundy Best, along with Rachel Messer, Cody Morgan and Wesley Saylor. This event will be free, although registration is required. 

   Tickets to the FoxFire Music & Arts festival start at $39.99 and can be found online at or by calling the box office at 606.324.0007.

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