HARRISONVILLE — They call it “Charlie’s Place in the Foothills” — that century-old barn on the Sheets family farm which has been converted into an inviting rustic theater for artistic performance.
Charlie’s Place, located in the center of the 550-acre Sheets family farm, is a restored and renovated 1830 Pennsylvania Dutch bank-barn with 3,600 square feet of total covered space featuring a large performance stage and an elevated seating area in the 60x60 foot structure. It is now home to the Mudfork Blues Band.
The farm has been owned by the Sheets family since 1928 and the new facility was named for the first owner, Charlie Sheets. He was the father of Jim Sheets who is the father of Jared, Aaron and Adam Sheets.
While the Sheets family hosted the very successful weekend Foothills Festival for the past six years, they opted for scaling down this year from a full fledged festival of entertainment and arts to a theatre venue.
They remain dedicated to the goal of the Foothills Music Foundation, of which Jared Sheets is president, “to enrich the quality of life in the foothills region of Southeastern Ohio by encouraging, promoting and supporting music and the arts.” Sheets described Charlie’s Place in the Foothills as a “barn with a vivid history having sheltered Morgan’s Raiders, Prohibition Bootleggers, countless chickens, cows, and horses which has now been converted into the region’s finest music and art facility.” It is suitable for three season use by artists in a variety of disciplines.
The renovations of the barn include structural changes along with electrical rewiring to support all new lighting. Plank flooring is used throughout the facility and a beam ceiling has been installed.
The viewing area remains an open space providing for seating of 200 or the use of tables and chairs.
The exterior is well lighted with lots of parking places for patrons in the adjacent area where the former festival activities took place.
Sheets describes Charlie’s Place as a “work in progress.” Two areas near the entrance are open and available for expansion or development as the need occurs.
Work on the old barn began in March and on Sept. 8 the facility was initiated with an appreciation program for supporters and contributors to the Foothills Music Foundation.
Entertainment on the new stage was provided by visiting bands, Izzy and Chris and C & S Railroad. For that first performance, the two youngest members of the Sheets family, Cara and James, rang the bell which hangs near the stage area.
The Foundation remains a 501C3 organization, and the programming will continue its emphasis on promoting music and art, according to the Sheets family.
On October 13 a free concert of the Mudfork Blues Band, composed of Sheet family musicians, Jennifer on keyboard, Jared playing guitar, and Adam on harmonica, with John Lohse, playing bass, and Ken Carley, drums, will be on stage at Charlie’s Place from 7 to 9 p.m.
The invitation from Jared, the leader of the band, is, “Come see the new face of Foothills Music. Bring a chair, your favorite refreshments and sit with us for a spell.”