A smooth bass line is followed by a silky voice and horns as the music flowing from the speakers hypnotizes the audience. On another stage, the band whips out a fast-paced song that stirs the audience into a frenzy sending them jumping and dancing all around.
While some flock to the different music venues, others shop for organic clothing and sit around camp fires while watching canoes pass by on the lake. Still others set up tents for a long weekend of camping.
An eclectic mix of bands, artists and people made for an interesting weekend at the 14th annual Flat Rock Music Festival in Flat Rock, NC. The festival held at Camp Ton-A-Wandah, a girl's summer camp, features music, food, and workshops as well as kid friendly activities throughout the three-day event.
But first, there was the rain. Small showers throughout the night Friday turned into a monsoon by Saturday. Everything was wet -- vendors dug trenches to protect their booths, rivers of mud replaced trails and performances were moved from an outdoor stage to a gymnasium.
Those who chose to camp dealt with flooded tents and vehicles stuck in the mud. The smart campers brought rain boots and tarps knowing the rain would come.
"The Flat Rock Festival wouldn't be complete if it didn't rain," explained one volunteer. A group from Summerville camping at the festival agreed, saying it has rained every year they have attended the festival. It is part of the festival experience.
This did not stop the tie dyed masses, though, who made up a large portion of the festival crowd. Like a scene out of a '60s Grateful Dead concert, a sea of shoeless, peace loving hippies navigated the muddy waters to hear the music that inspires them.
Soaked from head to bare toe, they danced in rhythm with the music, swaying back and forth throughout the room. The rain did its best to drown out the sounds of the music played in the gym. Undeterred, as the rain got louder, so did the musicians. Actually, the mix of rain and music was very peaceful and soothing.
Though the rain never stopped, bands played throughout the day and late into the night. Some performances did not start until after midnight as musicians entertained the crowds into the early morning hours.
Sunday morning the skies opened and the sun finally burned through the clouds and fog. Those who woke early -- walked, fished or soaked up some rays along the docks as music played all around. Some had their own jam sessions outside while others gathered to hear gospel inside.
The main stage was once again opened after the rivers of mud had subsided. Vendors cleaned out their booths and the crowd started flowing in for the first act of the day.
Children made art out of junk , learned to juggle or made tie dye t-shirts. Throughout the afternoon, performers entertained the young as the adults turned their attention to the main stage.
From folk music of the Rhythm Angels to the storytelling of Anon Dixon-Day, a variety of musicians played as everyone dried out in the sun.
Amazing how easy it was to forget the last two days of pouring rain while soaking up the rays and listening to the music play Sunday afternoon.
If you like live music and people watching and don't mind a little rain -- this is a fun festival located just off I-26 before Asheville. Next year I will be bringing rain boots though. I wonder if the boots can be tie dyed?
Paul Zoeller is a freelance photographer new to the area. Do you have an idea for a new blog or a question about a current blog? If you do contact Zoeller at firstname.lastname@example.org.