Pickens’ Founders Day this Saturday

By Nicole Daughhetee
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — The city of Pickens is expecting success at the first annual Founders Day Music Festival this Saturday. The free event will kick off at 10 a.m. and continue until around 9 p.m.

Conceived and planned by many volunteers associated with the Pickens Revitalization Association (PRA), Pickens city administrator Katherine Brackett believes that this fall festival will be the type of event that puts Pickens on the map.

“The Founders Day Music Festival celebrates everything that is great about the upstate. It showcases the beauty of the area, our rich history and heritage, and a culture deeply rooted in Bluegrass music,” said Brackett. “We had a blank spot during fall. This is a truly unique event and it is unique to this area.”

The highlight of the Founders Day Music Festival is, of course, an event schedule abundant with live musicians — 11 hours, to be exact — that people can enjoy all day. Hundreds of roots musicians, including old time, country, bluegrass and folk, will descend on Pickens. Eleven bands will be featured on the Blue Ridge Stage.

Performances scheduled for Saturday’s Festival will be held on the Blue Ridge Stage. The lineup is as follows: 10:50 – New Dixie Storm; 11:50 – Sweet Potato Pie Kids; 12:20 – Carolina Backroads; 1:10 – Pickens High Bluegrass; 1:50 – Trey Ward Band; 2:50 – Slik Nickel; 3:30 – Most Wanted Bluegrass; 4:30 – Pine Top Revival; 5:50 – Shannon & Heather Slaughter; 6:50 – Dejablue Grass Band; 8 – Weasel Creek and Contra Dancing.

Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated events of the festival is what is expected to be a record-setting musical jam. Individual musicians and groups are expected to jam, at will, up and down Main Street throughout the day. The early evening will bring all the musicians together to set a record for the largest jam in Pickens’ (perhaps Upcountry) history.

“Early response has been phenomenal,” said Daniel Brazinski, the event’s music chairman. “Not only will we have great entertainment on stage, we also expect to find hundreds of musicians, from near and far, playing up and down Main Street all day long.”

Non-musical activities include numerous “lost craft’ experts providing demonstrations on blacksmithing, cotton ginning, quilting, musical instrument construction, gunsmithing, and more. Special activities, such as face-painting and traditional games, will entertain the kids. The new “Turtles On The Town” tour will guide visitors to various historical sites around Pickens. Vendors will offer traditional arts and crafts as well as food and beverage such as homemade ice cream.

An Andrew Pickens impersonator will be there throughout the day to tell of his life and have photos taken with him. Specially selected vintage vehicles will be on display. The Pickens County Historical Society will display a large model of the downtown monument that will be constructed to honor the city’s namesake. The Hagood-Mauldin House and the Pickens County Museum will be open for special tours. Living history reenactments of the War Between the States will be presented, on the hour, at Bruce Field. A special shuttle will run between Main Street and the stadium.

The Pickens County Museum will offer several unique events just for Founders Day. Jeanette Moody will be demonstrating quilting in front of the Settlers Cabin exhibit. Daniel Brennan, as an authentic Confederate soldier, will read historical letters as part of the “War Between The States” exhibit, and Nick Hallman, a Heritage Award-winning musician, will offer Appalachian-style fiddle playing in front of the “Music of Pickens County” exhibit.

“We expect this inaugural Founders event to be the start of a great tradition in Pickens,” said Wayne Kelley, special events chairman. “There will be great entertainment, music, fun, food and demonstrations of interest to everyone in the family.”

The Founders Day Music Festival has events for everyone in the family to enjoy. Following is a schedule of non-musical events: Lost Craft Demonstrations 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Craft Vendors 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Food & Beverage 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Face Painting 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Kid’s Traditional Games 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Historical Reenactments 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Museum Events include Quilting 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Story Soldier 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Fiddler 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Period Photography 2 p.m.-6 p.m.

Sponsors of the first annual Founders Day Music Festival include the Historic City of Pickens, Cornell Dubilier, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, Hiott For SC House, Nestfeathers Gallery of Art, Great Oaks Dental, Pickens Guitar Company and the Roper Law Firm. Other event contributors include the Carmicals, Senator Larry Martin, TD Bank and Pizza Inn.

“Our hope is that, through this festival, we will show visitors what is so great about the Upstate so that they will plan a visit to the Founders Day Music Festival each year,” said Brackett. “The Azalea Festival is popular in spring, and we want this fall event to grow into a big, or even larger, event.”

For additional information, visit or Come out Saturday to support Pickens, enjoy great music and family entertainment, and have a fantastic fall day in the upstate.