The Plum Hollow Family Tree branches grow in different directions but the roots remain as one. Like any good family they all stick together no matter what. Testing how a family works was this past weekend when the weather was billed as and I quote “once in a lifetime storm of biblical proportions” and there was a state of emergency in effect.
If you know anything about hillbillies this was not going to stop them from having the annual fall Moonshiners Reunion three day alternative blue grass festival. I had kept up with the weather all week and was skeptical about even going but this was something I look forward to every year and besides this was family now. So, myself and my brother man “General” Lee Garner packed up the truck with things and headed to good ole Campabeller South Carolina on the first day which would be Thursday. We had already camped out the previous weekend and folks called us crazy for making this trip. I had made my mind up that I knew what I was getting into and I made it this far and liked my chances. We arrived with drizzling rain as we set up camp with excitement to see all our family and hear all our favorite songs.
Ah yes those songs we have been singing since the spring such as “I ain’t got no hot water (but I got a cold beer) by the Piedmont Boys, “Take me for a ride” by South 85 and of course “Campabeller” by The Plum Hollow Band.
The rains got heavy around dark and never seem to let up. Plenty of dry places we took refuge at and engaged in many spirits as well as food. It was going to spoil our good time and I am quite sure the late great Barney Barnwell would have wanted it that way. Something about this fine piece of property that brings folks in all the way from New Zealand and many far yonders. Talking to family there they all agree that this festival which is twice a year (once in spring and once in fall) is much different than any other outdoor music festival. Perhaps it’s the humanity? Escape? Maybe it is the spirits? Live music? Nature? Or just all of these things that make it stand out. The woods come alive here and it’s good for the soul. Barney has left quite a legacy and it is still going on strong today. Friday evening was chicken and dumplings night over at the bean pot. Kathy takes great care of everyone and is saint who I can’t say enough kind things about. The music was up and running on the main stage as all the favorite bands played as the rain just got heavier and the ground was now mud. Some folks left while the faithful stayed to be baptized in the music, spirit and mud. Water proof boots of all shapes, sizes and color were the fashion at this festival
I recall one point Dirty Grass Soul covering Black Sabbath War Pigs bluegrass style as I watched from the shed which was dry. A small crowd was in front of the stage dancing in the mud without a care in the world. I had to join them as the rain got heavier and heavier. I slept like a log in my tent in the rain. The sound of rain hitting the top of the tent was the perfect lullaby to put me to sleep with a belly full of Ms. Kathy’s chicken and dumplings that would nourish my body to ride this out. We kept an eye on the weather and even thought we may leave early for it was getting worse and worse. But again this was family and family sticks together. Saturday we left for the morning to head to get breakfast and out of the rain for a bit. We returned and picked off where we left off at. The campers were thinner and thinner but were along for the ride and nothing was going to stop them from the experience that is Plum Hollow Farm.
An Acoustic jam was a nice surprise as it was set up on the last night. Very cool to be up close with the bands under the shed as campfires kept our soggy feet dry. The smell of cedar logs burning and sound of banjos in the rain will change a man for the better. We soaked it all in and celebrated life the last night. It was beautiful and pure to be among the Plum Hollow faithful who were going to have a good time despite what sweet ole Mother Nature had in store. Sunday morning came and the rain was still around as I laid in my semi dry tent. Like every time I came to the farm it seemed so short and I didn’t want to go home. It only takes one visit to sweet ole Plum Hollow Farm to become part of the big ole family. So, if you haven’t experience the festival I do challenge you to come join us and witness for yourself. Oh, and be sure to pack your water proof boots! For more info: http://www.moonshiners.com/