An American bluegrass musician and singer who is credited with having organized the very first bluegrass festival in the United States in 1961.
From an early age, he listened to country music radio stations. While still in college, he formed the Dixie Mountain Boys together with his friends Paul Clayton and Dave Sadler
In 1952, Clifton made his recording debut with the Dixie Mountain Boys. With the addition of banjo player Johnny Clark, the group signed with Blue Ridge Records in 1953 and began playing traditional bluegrass.
Clifton published a songbook in 1955 called 150 Old Time Folk and Gospel Songs. In the mid 1950s, he enlisted in the Navy and was discharged two years later.
On July 4, 1961, Clifton organized the very first bluegrass festival at Oak Leaf Park in Luray, Virginia. The festival featured the biggest acts of the day in bluegrass music including Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, Jim & Jesse, etc.
In 1963, Clifton's family moved to England and he toured all over Europe playing in local folk clubs.
He recorded with a local New Zealand band, The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. In later years, he recorded both in Europe and in the United States.
Clifton and his family returned to the United States in 1978 and settled down in Virginia.
In 1980, he began recording for his own label Elf Records.