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Peace, Love, Rain and Music
Published Tuesday, September 29, 2009 1:17 PM
By Paul Zoeller
Summerville Journal Scene
paul.zoeller@mac.com
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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.


Melanie MacNeil of Asheville dances with the music with her hula hoop during the Flat Rock Music Festival in Flat Rock, NC.

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.


Everyone had to contend with the rain that fell all day Saturday and the flooding that followed.

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.


A Jack, left, and Henry Robinson of Summerville relax as shorts are dried over a fire at their campsite.

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.


Rain doesn't stop Hussie, right, and Cletus of Rocky Bottom from jamming as they play under the cover of the P Nut Hut.

"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.


Justin Scarborough starts a random art sculpture out of ribbons, yarn and even video tapes along a pathway at the festival.

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.


An artist named Jeff paints a portrait of Chuck Berry as bands play on stage.

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.


Carrie Rodriquez and her band perform in the gymnasium during the rain.

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.


Patrick Ashley of Aiken does some fishing in the morning before the bands start playing.

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.


Though they just met, Louis Elliott, left, and Jay Hardin enjoy playing together beside a camp fire.

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.


Artist Jennifer Puglisi adds a face to the back of Michael Collins' head.

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.


Kids were never lacking for activities throughout the festival including making art out of junk and found objects.

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.


Anon Dixon-Day, local singer, songwriter and storyteller plays the piano on the main stage.

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.


No cow tipping here, just making grilled cheese sandwiches at Barely Edible.

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 paul.zoeller@mac.com.


Comments (6)

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Anon Dixon Day
Saturday, January 12, 2013 2:41 AM

So grateful for the inclusion of the photo of Dick Day in the photo log. It is a very well done photo. This musician storyteller died Oct 31, 2012 and I am gratefully to have a photo that captured him playing keyboard. He did love his music.

Posted by:
Rockin flat Rock!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:07 PM

Great view into a beloved festival all done with so much love!! thanks to everyones awesome spirit!

Posted by: Denise V
FLATROCK SMILES
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 9:40 PM

GREAT JOB! THANKS SO MUCH....SEE YA IN THE SPRING.

Posted by: Chuck Willard
Tight Pics
Friday, October 02, 2009 4:51 AM

Great package Paul, nice intimate photos.

Posted by:
Stuff
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:38 AM

Interesting atmosphere. I should get out of town and come hang out there for a few days.

Posted by: Darren Abate
Looks fun
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 1:12 AM

Well done, enjoyed the pics and story.

Posted by: Christopher Herrick


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