Billy Jonas & Secret Agent 23 Skidoo Headline Playhouse Family Music Festival

Discount Advance Tickets Available July 14th

Now in its second year, the Playhouse Family Music Festival, the most family friendly festival of the summer, will return to Sugar Grove in August with nationally-acclaimed children’s music performer Billy Jonas, rising “kid hop” star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo as well as local favorites the Lost Ridge Band and the Forget-Me-Nots. Held from 10 am-5 pm on Saturday, August 16th at the Historic Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, the festival benefits The Children’s Playhouse, the only non-profit, independent children’s museum in the High Country.

Families can scoop up rock bottom tickets when they purchase them from The Playhouse website ( Tickets at the gate are $13 per adult and $6 for children twelve and younger, but you can get them for $10 for adults and $5 per child if you purchase in advance at the website or at Mast Store and Green Mother Goods starting July 14th. Tickets will also be available at Earth Fare after August 1st. Children under 24 months are free.  Call 828-263-0011 for more information.

Festival organizers are bubbling with enthusiasm about this year’s line-up. “Last year was our first year and it was such a blast with Billy Jonas and Lost Ridge,” says Playhouse executive director Kathy Parham, “this year we have Billy and Lost Ridge back again, plus a super fun special guest, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.”

Nationally popular with both adults and kids, Billy Jonas has won multiple awards including a Parent’s Choice Gold. His DVD, Everybody’s in the Band, was recommended by the New York Times. Reviewers describe Jonas’s music as “original and fun for the whole family. It features an interactive style that invites everyone to sing and ‘bang’ along.” Based in Asheville, Jonas plays across the country throughout the year. This will be Jonas’s only appearance in the Boone area this summer and fall.

Also headquartered in Asheville, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, aka Cactus Sullivan, mixes traditional funk, bluegrass, reggae and blues with classic golden age hip hop beats in his story filled album Easy, including “Luck,” which is the #1 song on XMKids radio. A father himself, 23 Skidoo combines positive messages with infectious beats. Visitors to 23 Skidoo’s website,, can catch glimpses of Boone residents Mariyah and Levi Rawl as well as his daughter among the kids in his video for “I Gotta Be Me.”

Based in Boone, the Lost Ridge Band’s sound is inspired by The Grateful Dead, Railroad Earth, Steve Earl, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, The Dillards, and Widespread Panic. Their members are Pete and Phil Washburn, Elijah Davenport, Shane Crawford, and Peter Hanast. Pete Washburn’s wife, Jesse, designed this year’s festival logo. The Washburns are very excited to be helping The Children’s Playhouse: “I bring my kids Maggie and Joseph there weekly. It is so great to help a place that is such a part of their childhood” said Jesse. The band will perform some specially prepared kids’ songs along with all their grown-up fans’ favorites.

Local Watauga phenoms, the Forget-Me-Nots are fiddlers Ledah and Willa Finck (ages 14 and 12), Maura Shawn Scanlin (age 12), and back-up guitarist-dad David Finck. The girls have been playing together for nine years, since they were ages 4, 3, and 2 years old. Their music mixes traditional Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, and Appalachian fiddle music, with a helping of contemporary tunes. The Forget-Me-Nots have performed at a number of regional venues, including the Merlefest and the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.

Another local ensemble, the BDBs from Todd, featuring Dave Hutchinson, Paul and Vanessa Van Valin, will play everything from pop music to folk music, original music, ethnic music, and even some operatic music.

The Elkland Arts Center puppet troupe will perform at puppet show about recycling “Jason’s Dream,” sponsored by the Watauga County Recycling program.

Other entertainment at the festival will include both the Appalachian Rhythm Cloggers, the High Country Cloggers, Jack Tales performed by the interns of the Blowing Rock Stage Company, African drumming, and more.

In the event of rain, all music performances will take place in the Old Cove Creek School gymnasium.

Other Festival Highlights
A Children’s Playhouse event would not be complete without great kids’ activities, including puppet shows, crafts, bubbles, airwalk, and more. Crafts, family items, and food will be available. Kids can sell their own handmade items priced under $5 in the Kids Craft Market from 11:00-2:00.

Adults wishing to sell crafts or food are invited to call The Children’s Playhouse at 828-263-0011 or visit the website for an application.

The Playhouse Children’s Music Festival is an alcohol- and drug-free event and is sponsored in part by major sponsors Appalachian Regional Adult & Pediatric Medicine, Boone Mall/H.L.Libby Corporation, Earth Fare, Foscoe Rentals, and M-Prints. Contributing sponsors include Boone Drug, Mast General Store, Stick Boy, Michael Goopta Acupuncture, and Drs. Mayhew, Conn, Scheffler and Hardaway. Festival friends include Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, Alpine Ski Shop, Blue Ridge Learning Centers, Dr. Maggie Sparks, and Highlands Union Bank.

About The Children’s Playhouse
Situated at 400 Tracy Circle near downtown Boone, nonprofit children’s museum The Children’s Playhouse provides children from birth to age eight with an enriching play environment while at the same time offering their parents friendly support in the important job of raising children. Admission is $5 per person. Infants under 1 year are free.

I am SO excited about this event, aren’t you?.


  1. yes, i can’t wait!

  2. I am so excited about this! Allie just adores Billy Jonas. She has seen him with her school and can’t wait to see him again!