Plum Hollow Festival 2013 (Spring)
Hank Williams Jr once said “If heaven ain’t alot like Dixie I don’t wanna go” and after staying at Plum Hollow for a bit I feel the need to borrow that line from Bocephus and tweak it a bit. “If Heaven ain’t alot like Plum Hollow I don’t wanna go!”
Plum Hollow is the host of two festivals per year one being The Plum Hollow Festival, which is always the last weekend in May, while The Moonshiners Reunion is always the the first full weekend in October. This year was my first time at either of the festivals. I have been to the farm before for Bryan Teague’s celebration of life and just fell in love and didn’t want to leave. I got a small taste of what its all about and just had to experience it full throttle. This year was dedicated to the memory of the late great Bryan Teague who touched many hearts and toured with the Plum Hollow Band. Bryan played the stand-up bass and was a fixture in the local music scene as well as a friend for life.
I arrived around 3 am Friday morning as I was coming straight from a gig in Charlotte NC. I wasn’t sure of anything and running on faith. Arrived at the front gate with a backpack full of change of clothes, bottle water, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, towel, comb, cell phone, notebook, pen, and just a ton of faith. I got checked in and begin walking and the music of the day was long gone as the stage was dark yet many were still up around campfires singing, laughing, and bonding. The air was crisp and the smell of honeysuckle was in the air. Within minutes,I was found by good friend Leslie who had a golf cart who found me a tent for the weekend. (Thanks Leslie by the way) I was tired and weary at the campsite but, meet some cool people and saw many I already knew. I was amazed at how humane the folks were here. I was constantly asked Do you need anything? and that to me spoke volumes. Barney Barnwell’s spirit was alive and well this clear star filled night in Campobello South Carolina on his farm. I needed sleep for I knew the weekend was going to need my energy and my body was telling me that. So, I went to my tent and slept the best I have in over a year with no worries or anxiety but pure much needed sleep.
The next morning I awoke to the sound of “Last call for Breakfast!” and it was from Kathy who is the mother hen of the farm. I met Kathy last time I was there and she is the sweetest angel of a mother hen you ever meet. She takes care of the cooking around and some of the most mighty fine things she makes over an open fire that would make Rachael Ray Jealous. God Bless you Kathy when the good lord made you it was a limited edition model. After breakfast it was daylight now and my eyes could see everything. The camps were getting packed in at a rapid pace as I ran into Bootleg Bill Canny from the hit TV show Moonshiners who was parking his car. I asked how he was doing and with a smile he said “Not too bad man!” I keep strolling around watching many just waking up and ready to put the fun in festival. I walked toward the stage where it was just getting set up for the music of the day. The heat was just beginning to get a lil hot for South Carolina so I got me a bag chair and took refuge with a beer and bag chair in some shade toward the back facing the stage under the shed. As I was taking the culture in from all aspects I got a text message from Chuck Johnson whom I missed about a week ago from his gig at Spartanburg’s Peddler Steakhouse. I have been a Chuck Johnson fan for a while and he and I have been going back and forth on the net and became good friends but never meet. Chuck told me in a text he was going to be playing later today with Bill Noonan and The barb-wires and to be on the look out for him. That made my day to know I was going to finally meet the man who nicknamed Charleyhorse. I sat under the shed with best seat in house which was the shade and watched South 85 just blow me away. I had never saw them live but only on records. They really have a great upbeat tight sound and the crowd was won over!
I highly recommend you check them out if you get the chance. If you do go see them live for I feel you won’t get the same experience as you would on record. Bill Canny loaned his fiddle play skills for one song and added more to what was becoming one of my favorite bands. I left for a stroll after South 85’s set to see a race car that was painted with Barney Barnwell’s classic image with the possum on his shoulder. It was some great artwork that was very dynamic. Walking around meeting people and always something to do on the farm. Its never a dull moment for sure. I came back to the stage just in time for Bill Noonan and the Barbwires. I sat back under the shed for the sun was beaming right down on me. The came a trotting over pass me was the Charleyhorse himself Chuck Johnson! I went and shook his hand along with a big hug. He and his wife Debbie are such a delightful wonderful human beings. After speaking briefly with Chuck he had to go set up for his set with Bill and Barbwires. I moved right next to the stage like a hobo on a hot pocket for I didn’t wanna miss this. The Barb-wires are a excellent band and to add Chuck and Bill it only got better. It is some of finest authentic Americana music that is out there today. After the set I spoke with Bill,Chuck and Debbie for a short time before they had to head out for another gig in the day. That was a super nice surprise for sure. I went back to the campsite where a few were hanging out holding court around a fire. I set down and just listened to the stories of em all. I then took a stroll just right up from my tent and meet Jeff and Cricket who were the nicest people in the world and I mean it. I sat for a long spell talking to them about life, cooking, jokes, work, kids, and Barney Barnwell.
Later on they cooked us some much needed food and I can’t thank them enough for the hospitality, wisdom and spirits. Golf carts are pretty common on the farm and you really don’t have to walk anywhere unless you really want to that is. A golf cart will go by every few minutes and someone will give you a ride. The thing about Plum Hollow is a lot of hard work went into making this all happen. A Lot of time and effort is put into it and it shows. Everyone looks out for one another here and the land is beautiful. That being said thanks to all who make it happen from the volunteers,Bill and Josh, Musicians, Kathy, and Debbie Barnwell. The spirit of Bryan Teague and Barney Barnwell are shining down from the great up yonder and smiling down on us for what they started is still strong as ever today. Plum Hollow gets in your blood a friend once told me and she is right. I am now one of them and will be back this fall and beyond. God Bless Plum Hollow Farm!
Box 5015 Rainbow Lake Rd.
Campobello, SC 29322
All photos were submitted by Denise Grady