Gospel review set at Hagood Mill

PICKENS — The wheel will be turning and the hills resounding in song at Hagood Mill on Saturday, Aug. 15, as “Music in the Mountains 2015” presents an old-time camp-style sing-along just like our forefathers did 100 years ago.

Visitors are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket to Hagood Mill and be prepared to[cointent_lockedcontent] sing all the familiar old gospel songs with the mill’s heritage singers.

At 11 a.m., the songs will be led by the gospel renderings of Lib Porter and Heartstrings. Porter’s sonorous singing will be punctuated by the Mother Maybelle-type playing of her autoharp and the accompanying stringed music of the Heartstrings.

Beginning around noon, Last Road will take the stage, performing an old-style gospel set. Last Road is a name that folks have heard around South Carolina for years and know that, no matter what, these guys can be counted on for quality bluegrass. Boasting some of the finest vocals to be heard anywhere, Last Road is now performing many of its own original songs supported by tight instrumentation. Wherever they can be found performing around the Southeast, listeners will be entertained by their traditional bluegrass and light-humored style.

At 1 p.m., visitors will enjoy the mellow renderings of Roosevelt Baker and the Gospel True Tones African-American Gospel group from Easley. Baker sang for the famous Jackson Brothers, who were awarded the South Carolina State Heritage Award.

Following the Gospel True Tones, attendees will be treated to a second set by Last Road, which will carry the event throughout the afternoon.

Special guest vendor of the day, Mike O’Neal, a 31-year veteran of NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, was awarded the agency’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and two Exceptional Service Medals. Among other duties, he served as deputy director of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office, deputy director of the Space Station Engineering Directorate and leader of the Exploration Think Tank. He speaks professionally on the role of spirituality in human space flight and is the author of “An Angel’s View: Encountering God Through the Stories of the Heavenly Hosts” and “Holy God, Holy People.” O’Neal’s current book will be available for purchase.

The gristmill and other demonstrations will be running from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

As always, visitors are encouraged to bring their favorite old-time instruments and join in the “open jam” which takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside the beloved 1791 log house.

Admission is free, but there will be a $5 parking fee for the rain-or-shine event. All proceeds from parking help fund future events at Hagood Mill.

There will be lots of other things to see on Aug. 15 as Hagood Mill hosts a variety of folk life and traditional arts demonstrations. There will be blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flint knapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, basket-making, pottery, quilting, spinning, knitting, weaving, woodcarving, metal-smithing, leather working, bee keeping and more. Visitors can ask questions of the artists and make a purchase of their traditional arts to take home.

The centerpiece of the Hagood Mill historic site is the water-powered 1845 gristmill. It is one of the finest examples of 19th-century technology in the Upcountry and operates just as it has for the last century and a half. In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits, and wheat flour will be available. In addition, rye flour, Basmati rice flour, oat flour, oatmeal, popping corn meal, and grits, organic yellow corn meal and grits, and buckwheat flour are produced and may be in stock. Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items are also available.

There promises to be lots to do and lots of fun, so head on out, share a picnic or grab a plate of food on site from the Gatehouse Restaurant and enjoy a special day at the Hagood Mill.

The Hagood Mill Historic Site is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. all year long and operates, rain or shine, for a special folklife festival the third Saturday of every month.

The Hagood Mill is located just three miles north of Pickens off U.S. Highway 178 at 138 Hagood Mill Road.

“Music in the Mountains 2015” is sponsored by a private benefactor and the kind donations of visitors. For more information, contact the Hagood Mill at (864) 898-2936 or check[/cointent_lockedcontent]