Roberts, Glenn E., Jr.
Born in Norton, Virginia, circa 1938, Glenn E. Roberts, Jr. moved with his family to Akron, Ohio. Growing up in Akron, Roberts became acquainted with the bluegrass and country performers such as Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Hank Williams, Sr., and Hank Snow. In 1960, Roberts graduated from Akron University and returned to Norton to start a tire business. In the late 1960s, Roberts and his wife, Patti, began singing at local civic functions. In the early 1970s, Roberts founded the Rolling Firestone bluegrass group. In the fall of 1972, Roberts began programming and hosting a pre-recorded half-hour radio show called the Glenn Roberts Firestone Tire Radio Program. The program played on five radio stations in southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky and featured both live and recorded bluegrass music. The program included performances by the Rolling Firestones, Ralph Stanley, Jim and Jesse, the Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, and the Marshall Family. The radio program ended in the spring of 1976. Roberts also helped organize and promote an annual bluegrass festival held at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Wise, Virginia, 1975-1979. The Wise County Shrine Club sponsored the festival and the event proceeds went to the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1980, the Shrine Club ended its sponsorship but Roberts and Clayton Slagle of Carter County, Tennessee, continued to host the festival. The venue changed to Slagle's Bluegrass Pasture in Elizabethton, Tennessee, in 1980 and 1981. The festival attracted a number of prominent bluegrass performers including Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, J. D. Crowe and the New South, Mac Wiseman, the Country Gentlemen, II Generation, Ricky Skaggs and Boone Creek, Red Rector, and Bill Clifton.