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Jesco Fest Slated Aug. 26-27 in Hinton to Celebrate 50th Birthday of ‘Dancing Outlaw’ Jesco White

Posted by kinchendavid on August 17, 2006

By DavidKinchen.com Staff

Hinton, WV – Friends of the world-renowned Jesco White have planned a benefit celebration of his fiftieth birthday and the fifteen-year anniversary of The Dancing Outlaw. JescoFest 2006 will feature Mr. White as well as artists from all over the United States who are performing pro bono for the living legend. The event will take place August 26 and 27, 2006 at Hinton West Virginia’s Sidetrack Park .

JescoFest will feature the following performers:

ELECTRIC SATURDAY (8/26) The Gonzo Underson, The Frontier Bastards, Homes, A Certain Thrust, BURNA, Brain Trauma, the Transmission, the Hellbillies, Tazz Toni & Roger Alan Wade; HEADLINERS: 8-Bit Drifters

ACOUSTIC-COUNTRY-BLUES SUNDAY (8/27): Cousin Wildweed, Tomi-O & Rhythm Board, Ray Patsie, Velvet Spasm, The Dirty Coal River Band; Night Train!, Jason Adkins, Cellar Door, J. Glenn, Backdoor Stand & Joey Allcorn; J.B. Beverly & The Wayword.

Ticket prices are $18 for Saturday and Sunday or $10 per day. The proceeds will help Mr. White purchase water and firewood for the winter of 2006-2007. The event is family-oriented with games, rides, and fun for the entire family! For more information visit http://www.jescofest.com or contact Ray Nutter at (304) 466-3550.

In addition to Jesco’s recent appearance at “Unkl Ray’s Bar and Grill” in Hinton, and performing with music legend Hank Williams III, Turner South recently filmed an episode about the life of Jesco for their television program “Yokel”. “Unkl” Ray Nutter (Aka Rhythm Board Ray) and “Tomi-O” Tom Hartwell, both of Hinton, were featured during the soon-to-be-released episode, and the Yokel crew plans to film during JescoFest. They are scheduled to perform on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006.

Jesse “Jesco” White was born in the Appalachians and is an acclaimed mountain dancer. He is best-known for the two short films about him which detail his desire to follow in his famous father’s footsteps, while trying to overcome depression, drug addiction, and the poverty that afflicts much of rural Appalachia. His father was D. Ray (Donald Ray) White, who was profiled in the PBS documentary Talking Feet, and his mother is Birty Mae White. Before his murder, D. Ray White was known as one of the greatest mountain dancers in the United States. His style, along with Jesco’s, is a subtle mix of tap and clog dancing that is native to Appalachia.

Jesco White was first profiled on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “A Different Drummer” Series. Because of his popularity, PBS eventually released two documentaries about Jesco. The first was The Dancing Outlaw (1991), directed by Jacob Young, which featured him at home in West Virginia and gave audiences a glimpse into his troubled life. As the popularity of The Dancing Outlaw grew, he was asked by comedian Tom Arnold to perform on the television show Roseanne. He traveled to Los Angeles for the performance, which was chronicled in the 1994 short film Jesco White 2: Jesco goes to Hollywood – directed by the original’s Jacob Young.

Jesco has been linked to many popular artists through song. Big and Rich mention his name in their single “Comin’ To Your City,” although Jesco is not a fan and feels as if they are capitalizing on his name. Hank Williams III wrote the song “Legend of D. Ray White” which honors the cultural significance of Jesco’s father. Jesco also dances on the Hank Williams III song “Louisiana Stripes.” Tribute songs include “Jessico” by The Kentucky Headhunters, “Jesco” by Trailer Bride, and “Dancin’ Outlaw” by Ekoostik Hookah. The rock group Live included the line “….we’ll lay flowers at the grave of Jesco White, the sinner’s saint” in their song “Rattlesnake.” And, a short clip of Jesco dancing can be seen in Beck’s “Loser” music video.

To quote Hank Williams III, “Well, in reality, Jesco White’s the nicest person you could ever meet…he’s the coolest …..water and wood, it’s still real important to him up there, and I just got a call yesterday, he’s supposedly the happiest he’s been in a long time. Some people came up and did this little show for him. And they grounded his trailer, and they built him a little porch on the back of his trailer, and gave him a year’s supply worth of water and wood. So, instead of getting’ paid money, that’s what he wanted. He was all stoked about that. But it’s been an honor to know him.”

Jesco White currently lives in his trailer in Peytona, which is in Boone County, West Virginia, with his Jack Russell terrier. His wife, Norma Jean, has moved into a low income high-rise in Charleston, West Virginia, to be closer to needed medical services.

Festival organizer Ray Nutter is an active member of his community and dedicated to revitalizing the city of Hinton through the arts and his personal skills as a performance artist and entrepreneur. He states the following “Music is my passion! From teaching children, to playing drums and washboard to organizing festivals….I just love the music and the musicians and the audience and the good vibes I get from it all!”


One Response to “Jesco Fest Slated Aug. 26-27 in Hinton to Celebrate 50th Birthday of ‘Dancing Outlaw’ Jesco White”

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