The Devil must be coming back down to Georgia, folks, because the fiddlers are fixing to play hotter than ever.
The 35th annual North Georgia Folk Festival, organized by the Athens Folk Music and Dance Society, will be held on Oct. 12 at Sandy Creek Park. Tommy Jordan, the festival director, said this year’s lineup will “represent a wide variety of folk music forms.”
The festival will feature a mix of traditional folk ensembles, modern indie bands and groups with multicultural influences. Festival headliners include Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboys, Caroline Aiken Band and The Skillet Lickers.
While the popularity of folk music in Athens comes and goes, there’s been a resurgence of the acoustic singer-songwriter style in recent years.
“Folk music is of the people,” Jordan said.
The Skillet Lickers will take the main stage at 4:45 p.m. The current incarnation of the band carries on the founding band’s tradition and plays much of the same repertoire. Guitarist Phil Tanner and fiddler Russ Tanner, current members, are the grandson and great-grandson, respectively, of famed fiddler Gid Tanner.
“They’re like, a really, really amazing example of traditional Georgia music,” said Sam Fisher, a University of Georgia senior who is a member of the festival’s planning committee.
Fisher said he also appreciates how folk music represents a cross-cultural blend of ideas, experiences and even languages.
One of the groups Fisher is most excited for is Grupo C21, an Athens-based Latin American band which will perform corridos, or ballads, Fisher said.
“It’s not a genre determined by one person or scene,” Fisher said. “It’s like all these different iterations across race and culture, sometimes even languages when you get Spanish music coming in.”
In addition to the music, various artists and demonstrators will present their hand-crafted work, and food will be available from vendors including Rashe’s Cuisine, Jittery Joe’s and more. A children’s zone will also be equipped with games and craft activities.