Cowboy Crooners Coming
To Melody Ranch.

An Invitation From The City Of Santa Clarita.
Old Town Newhall Gazette, February-March 1997.

Echoes of Santa Clarita's Western heritage will be heard in our valley from Friday, April 4th through Sunday, April 6th.

1997 Festival ArtworkThis year's annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival will begin with an intimate performance by cowboy balladeer Don Edwards in the Russell- and Remington-filled living room of silent film star William S. Hart's Spanish mansion.

On Saturday, April 5th, a day-long series of events will start with a trail ride through California's pioneer oil town of Mentryville and a genuine cowboy breakfast. Festival-goers on Saturday will be treated to shows from R.W. Hampton, Waddie Mitchell, Don Edwards, Ian Tyson, and Craig Chambers and the Good Cowboy Band at Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon.

Sunday, April 6 will feature a Wild West Heritage Tour by motor coach, followed by shows starring Sourdough Slim and the Saddle Pals, Hays Country Gals and Pals, and the Sons of the San Joaquin.

Rounding out the entertainment are Joel Nelson, Rod McQueary, Sue Wallis, Tom Perlman, D.W. Stamey, John Kulm, Les Buffham, Gary Robertson, Frank "Two Jump" Morris, New West, Lone Prairie, Outlaw Black and Mark Brooks. Performers hail from 7 Western states and Canada.

The ever-popular Cowboy Gear Show and the tents along Mercantile Row will return this year. A 1997 Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival poster, suitable for framing, will be available for $15, as will an official souvenir t-shirt.

Folks are encouraged to bring a hearty appetite. An expanded food court will offer down-home cookin' served chuck-wagon style -- including authentic cowboy vittles.

Ticket prices range from $3 for a Sunday afternoon show to $75 per person for the Don Edwards show at the Hart mansion. Proceeds from the Edwards show benefit charity.

"We are aiming to attract more families to the event, especially to our Sunday performances," festival coordinator Michael Marks explains. "We have scheduled many family shows on Sunday and lowered many ticket prices."

Shuttle buses will ferry ticket holders to Melody Ranch, and those without tickets to a performance may pay a $5 general admission charge which includes bus service. No festival parking will be permitted in Placerita Canyon.

The annual festival is part of the City's efforts to emphasize our Western heritage.

"The cowboy way of life is living with the land, living off the land and living with the animals," says Les Buffham, a nationally-published cowboy poet who lives on a ranch in Castaic's Hasley Canyon. "I think everybody desires a simpler lifestyle. Everybody is tired of the rush."

There may be a rush, alright: a rush for tickets! This year's festival, as in years past, is expected to be a sellout. For ticket information call the City of Santa Clarita at 255-4910 or 1-800-305-0755.

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