Music festival to benefit area Shriners

ALBANY, Ga. -- Looking for a little music indulgence this weekend? Attendees of a two-day music festival in Damascus will be treated to the sounds of ten different bands with music genres including alternative country, rock and renegade bluegrass.

In addition to an amazing line-up of artists, a portion of the proceeds from the first annual Briar Patch Music Festival will be donated to Hasan Temple in Albany and local Shriners.

Jeb Tabb, co-founder and spokesman for the Briar Patch Music Festival, said the event spawned from an idea of giving the community something to do.

"I thought that an outdoor music festival would be interesting and I mentioned it to my cousin, Brandon Lovering, and he took off with it," Tabb said in a telephone interview.

Tabb also contacted Albany restaurateur and musician Bo Henry, who expressed interest in helping with the event.

"We all (Henry, Tabb and Lovering) decided we wanted to do something in Damascus. That's where I'm from and I always wanted do something there for that community to enjoy. So we thought that there was no time like the present," said Henry.

The restaurateur said the festival also gives it's founders a chance to advocate for the Shriners and raise money for the children's hospital.

"It's all for a really good cause and there is going to be a lot of good music. We have tried to make it as family-friendly as possible, so we welcome anyone that wants to come and enjoy," said Henry.

Tabb, who belongs to the Young Guns Club for recently initiated Shriners, said volunteers from the club will be at the festival to collect donations and park cars.

"We started this on a shoestring budget and it has been amazing all the support that we have received from the community," he said.

Festival coordinators said they believe the music festival will be a great thing for the community.

"Me, Bo and Brandon are all from here so we have close ties. Growing up I know there was never a lot to do here so we are trying to change that," said Tabb. "We want to try and grow this festival and hopefully a lot of people will turn out and the weather will be nice."

The Shriner said the name of the music festival was inspired by the Southern folktale of Br'er Rabbit and the briar patch.

Bands scheduled to perform throughout the weekend are Caucasian Invasion, Evan Barber and the Dead Gamblers, Yamadeo, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Hayden Smith and Friends, and Destiny Brown Band (featuring Bubba Hall and Tony Brook). Saturday night will showcase ZOSO, Rollin' in the Hay and The Bo Henry Band.

The Briar Patch Music Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at at the site of the old Powerline Restaurant, located east of Highway 45 North, on Five Bridges Road in Damascus. Gate opens at 5 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday.

A weekend pass to the event costs $20 per person but tickets for children who are accompanied by an adult are $5.

Festival coordinators said campers and tents are allowed and coolers can be brought after paying a cooler fee. Food vendors will also be present at the event.

Sponsors for the event include Southern Vodka, Southern Gin and Plantation Vodka, which can all be found at 13th Colony Distillery in Americus.