Valdese, NC – The 41st annual Waldensian Festival will kick off on August 12th with “America’s Got Talent” contestant, Benton Blount.

Blount, a Valdese native, developed a passion for singing and songwriting when he was 18 years old. Now, over 15 years later, he has made a career out of performing. His most recent success was as a top 10 finalist on the 10th season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which gained him nationwide recognition. He performs a variety of country music, including covers and original songs.

Bringing honesty and heart to his music, Blount’s passionate live performances have gained him many lifelong fans.

“I know people look at me, with my tattoos and appearance, and they don’t think I look like a country singer,” he says. “When I sing, I have a gruffness to my voice that’s different than most country singers too. But when I start to talk, you can hear that I’m as country as cornbread. And the songs, with their real-life stories and positive outlook on life, have more in common with country music than anything else. Country music is where I belong.”

Blount strives to offer his audience an astonishing experience every time he takes the stage. “I like surprising people,” he says. “My life and my career have been full of surprises too. But it’s always a good surprise. I like showing people that this is what I should be doing, and this is where I belong!

Blount will return to his hometown for the Waldensian Festival to perform a free concert. The opening ceremonies for the festival will begin at 6:45 pm on Friday, August 12, and Blount will take the stage at 7 pm.

Too Much Sylvia (00000002)The festival will continue on Saturday, August 13 with the band Too Much Sylvia performing that evening at 7 pm. Back by popular demand, Too Much Sylvia will showcase a variety of music.

Too Much Sylvia plays August 13

Rick Lee, Ed Howie, Steve Long and Lee Kelley combine their talents to form a classy four member show and dance act that features a diverse repertoire appealing to every musical taste. Their musical menu includes the best of the 50’s and 60’s oldies and classic rock, 70’s disco, Carolina beach and today’s hot Top 40 dance tunes. This is flavored with pop country, rhythm & blues and standards.

The Waldensian Festival will also feature a variety of other talented performers on the main stage throughout the day on Saturday, as well as amusement rides for children of all ages. Over 170 vendors will be present selling a variety of food, crafts and much more.

The presenters for the 41st Waldensian Festival are Carolina’s Healthcare System Blueridge, Paramount Hyundai of Valdese, Hampton Inn of Morganton, Food Matters Market, Meridian Specialty Yarn Group, McDonald’s, Viewmont Surgery, Carolina Orthopedic Specialists, Bimbo Bakeries, Republic Services, Valdese Weavers, Food Lion and Granny’s Country Kitchen.

Top Photo: Benton Blount plays August 12