Lunsford Award

Lunsford Award

The Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award has been given out since 1980 to individuals who have made significant contributions to the folk, musical, and/or dance traditions of the

Dr. David W. Robinson (L) and John Roten (R)

southern mountain region.

The 2023 Lunsford Awards go to Dr. David W. Robinson + John Roten.
Dr. David Robinson (1967-2022) was as an alum of Mars Hill University and was a lifelong resident of Mars Hill. He played at the Lunsford Festival for many, many years. He held a doctorate in education, was the principal of Madison High School, and was an avid singer, fiddler, and guitar player. We are honored to be able to present this award to such a deeply-beloved member of the community.

John Roten has been the Master of Ceremonies for the daytime festival for many years. In addition to his work with the festival, Roten has also worn many hats with iHeartMedia but most often can be seen around the region in one of his trademark cowboy hats. John was the host of the very popular Kiss Country Classics program in Asheville and Sunday morning’s WESC Country Classics in Greenville, South Carolina. Roten grew up in Western North Carolina and knows the region and the people that live in these wonderful mountains. We are grateful to him for his help in keeping the festival running smoothly.

Past Winners

2022: Bobby Hicks

2021: David Holt

2020: Festival was held virtually, due to the pandemic, so no award was given
2019 Loretta Freeman

2018 Brian Hunter

2017 Jeff Atkins

2016 Carol Rifkin

2015 Peter Gott

2014 Nick Hallman

2013 George Banks

2012 Boyd Black / Kathryn Parham (Lunsford Youth Award)

2011 Paul Crouch

2010 David Shelton

2009 Leonard Hollifield

2008 Laura Boosinger

2007 Vernon and Ruth Riddle

2007 Doug Phillips

2006 Jerry Sutton

2005¬†Joe Penland / Donna Ray Norton, Denise Norton O’Sullivan , & Melanie Rice (Lunsford Youth Award)

2004 Bobby McMillon

2004 Loyal Jones (Minstrel of the Appalachians Award)

2003 Marilyn McMinn-McCredie

2003 Mrs. Nelia Hyatt

2002 Terry Freeman

2002 Marvin Faulkner

2001 Ralph Lewis

2001 Vickie Hensley

2000 R. Kirk Randleman

2000 Buddy Davis

1999 Lena Jean Ray

1999 Roger Howell / Josh Goforth (Lunsford Youth Award)

1998 Bailey Mountain Cloggers


1998 Don Pedi

1998 Jerry Adams

1997 Sheila Kay Adams

1996 Gary Spence

1996 Hilary Dirlam

1995 Luke Smathers

1994 Johnny Rhymer

1993 Richard Dillingham

1993 Wayne Pressley

1992 Ralph Fox

1991 Danny Johnson

1990 Carroll Best

1989 Arvil Freeman

1988¬†Ernest ‚ÄúRed‚Ä̬†Ivester

1988 Ray Hutchinson

1987 Dellie Norton

1987 Mack Snoderly

1986 Thelma Parham

1986 Chub Parham

1986 Lamar Lunsford

1986 Quay Smathers

1985 Gordon Freeman

1984 Obray Ramsey

1983 Ed Howard

1982 Carl Chandler

1982 Betty Smith

1981 Byard Ray
1980:Tommy Hunter