"They are top artists in their field. Belinda Gail is probably the most decorated because she's won multiple Singer of the Year, Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year [awards]," said Booth Entertainment Manager Doc Stovall, adding Gail will perform with Jones in the Booth Ballroom Friday at 7 p.m., and they will sing at the festival's outdoor stages Saturday and Sunday. "She's good. She's been here before. This will be about her fourth time here and she's very popular.
"She has a following here -- just a real sweet lady. They're all cowboy artists, Western music artists. ... It all works together," he said about the event and its entertainment. "The event itself supports what they do and what they do supports the event because it's all cowboy. ... This is a Western concert. This is a Western festival. Everything about it is cowboy or something of historical significance as far as the American cowboy is concerned."
The festival's entertainment will be one component of the four-day event, Thursday to Sunday, which will celebrate the American West through art lectures, music, demonstrations and children's activities.
"[The festival is] always our biggest weekend of the year," Booth Executive Director Seth Hopkins said, referring to the museum's visitors. "It's just been steadily growing every year. Last year we had little over 5,000 people for the four-day weekend. So we're expecting probably close to 6,000 this year. ... It's just a great family experience. That's what I think is really the best about it -- [it] really is a family event and that everybody in the family can find something they will enjoy."
After offering a school program on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the event will open to the public with the music of Stovall and the Tumbleweed Cowboy Band in the Museum Atrium and an artist reception for sculptor John Coleman, both from 5 to 7 p.m. As the featured artist for the Festival and Symposium, Coleman will conduct a lecture following the reception in the Booth Theatre at 7 p.m. and lead a workshop Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Resource Center, 1 N. Gilmer St. in Cartersville. As of Monday, only two spots remained for Friday's class, which will be limited in size and will cost $125 for Booth members and $150 for non-members. Reservations are required and can be placed by calling 770-387-3849.
"John Coleman is one of just a very small number of the best living sculptors in the American West," Hopkins said. "We have 10 pieces of his art in the collection and I think he's one of the most popular sculptors living today. He primarily does Native American subjects. He does a lot of research on those subjects to make sure they're accurate. And a lot of people do that, it's his way of portraying the emotion and the feeling that you get from looking at one of his sculptures that really sets him apart from the others. And he does that through very subtle detail and the way the face and the body position just convey the attitude of the subject he's sculpting.
"Being an art museum, a lot of the events [are] about history and bring history to life but we never want to forget at the core we are an art museum. So we think it's important to have an artist be one of the focal points of the weekend. Usually that's a historical artist, like John is. He's mainly doing Native American subjects that are historical subjects. The pieces we have in the Booth museum are all Indians that were alive in the early 1800s. So there certainly is a historical aspect to the art but in the end we want to make sure there is focus on art itself."
In addition to Coleman's workshop, Friday's offerings will consist of art history lectures in the Booth Theatre from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a Western concert in the Booth Ballroom at 7 p.m. starring Gail and Jones.
On Saturday, the Cowboy Festival will be under way from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the museum's grounds at 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville. Along with children's activities, the festivities will include fast draw competitions, reenactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, American Indian dances, live entertainment, Western art and collectibles, and living history encampments. Riders in the Sky also will perform at 2 and 7 p.m. at The Grand Theatre.
On Sunday, the Festival and Symposium will continue with Cowboy Church at 11 a.m. and activities on the museum's grounds from noon to 5 p.m.
Admission to activities located inside the Booth and on its grounds will be $10 for adults, $8 for individuals 65 and older, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and younger, and free for museum members and active military personnel with ID. For more information on the Festival and Symposium and additional charges for workshops, concerts and school programs, contact the Booth at 770-387-1300 or visit www.boothmuseum.org.