news-category: Campus News

Gardner-Webb’s Brinkley Amphitheater Hosts Balsam Range and Fireside Collective

Award-Winning Bluegrass Groups from Western North Carolina Play on Nov. 18

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Balsam Range, winner of 13 awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)—including Entertainer of the Year—will headline the second concert in Brinkley Amphitheater at Gardner-Webb University. Special guest, Fireside Collective, will open the event on Nov. 18. Doors open at 4 p.m. and the program starts at 5 p.m. General admission tickets are available below.

“We’re all excited to follow up October’s inaugural amphitheater concert with the announcement of two more high-energy bands that will entertain us in November following our final home football game,” remarked Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “Balsam Range and Fireside Collective are going to be fun, and I look forward to a large and festive audience gathering on our campus for some great music!”

Balsam Range has become one of the genre’s most award-winning acts. Since forming in 2007, the group has produced 13 critically-acclaimed albums. Balsam Range has left audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals from coast-to-coast, selling out venues across the nation and in multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. The members are all acoustic musicians and singers from western North Carolina. They thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround part of their home county of Haywood, N.C., where the Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge, the Great Balsam Range.

In an interview with “Bluegrass Situation,” Tim Surrett, bass and dobro player, shared that music was a vital part of growing up in the mountains of North Carolina. “Square dancing, clogging, mountain dancing, and old-time music were a huge thing, and you get indoctrinated with it,” Surrett elaborated. “There are so many great players that come from this region, and you cannot help being exposed to it, especially growing up when most of us did. It was an enormous part of life here in the mountains. And it’s fun to see that go on as some of us have become elder statesmen of that scene now.”

Fireside Collective

Fireside Collective is a quintet, who cheerfully disregard every kind of one-dimensional label that might be attached to their music. The group has been on a roll since emerging seven years ago from the fertile roots music scene of Asheville, N.C. In quick order, the progressive Americana bluegrass group released its debut album, won the 2016 Band Contest at MerleFest, earned an IBMA Momentum Band of the Year nomination and embarked on an ambitious touring schedule that’s earned an enthusiastic reception from traditional bluegrass to wide-ranging, eclectic music festival audiences alike. They were nominated for IBMA New Artist of the Year in 2022.  

Caleb Calhoun, writing for “Ashvegas” praised the group as “masters of their instruments.” He added, “They’re writing songs that fit their range and style perfectly. They can run you over like a Mack truck or tiptoe along the hair on the back of your neck like a fairy. Even the instruments take on vocal characteristics creating the feel of a jam during carefully composed sections.”

The Boiling Springs Tourism Development Authority is a sponsor for this event, and WNCW is a media sponsor. 

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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