Shakori Hills: Localized at last

| October 06, 2004
Are you crushed because Hendrix didn't make it to your favorite outdoor festival? Steamed because George Jones wasn't on the bill? If you don't like what you're seeing and hearing when you visit the great outdoors for musical stimulation, now there's something you can do about it. The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance allows you to have a voice in what acts are chosen for their semiannual festival held in Silk Hope.

"We have meetings usually once a week on Monday nights at 7:30," says festival coordinator Jordan Puryear. "It's open to anybody. You can call ahead, at 919-542-8142, or just show up." The meetings are held at the farmhouse located on the festival site.

The festival has been held twice in the area in the spring, but this year is the first time a fall event, which runs from Oct. 7-10, has been added. The first two festivals featured a lineup largely composed of regional and national talent, but that's changed for this outing.

"The festival started to grow a lot of local roots," says Puryear. The local root expansion is due in part to participation from local music patrons, including Carrboro Music Festival organizer Jerry Williams, who Puryear says has been part of the staff since early this year.

Although there's no real criteria for bands for the festival, Puryear and the staff do have a general idea of what they want. "We're oriented toward roots and country-folkish kind of stuff, so bands like the Two Dollar Pistols and Tres Chicas fit right in really well."

Other locals include Hooverville, Chatham County Line, Katherine Whalen, Brown Mountain Lights, The Amateurs Reggae Band, Big Fat Gap, Yellin' Hoarsely and former local boy Thad Cockrell.

"I guess as the word spread through the musical community that the festival was a good thing, and people started to understand that it was a not-for-profit community-organized kind of thing, they were wiling to pitch in and do it for very reasonable rates," Puryear says of the upswing in local band representation.

There are some big names as well--Del McCoury's back, as is Jim Lauderdale, and, of course, host band Donna the Buffalo. African rhythms are represented by drum and dance troupe Kusun Ensemble and Mamadou Diabate. Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band return, as does Keith Secola & The Wild Band of Indians' mix of Native American chants and electric guitar funk.

Puryear recommends the Lonesome Sisters--Debra Clifford and Sarah Hawker. The duo performs country, bluegrass, gospel and old-time music as well as the original music that won Hawker first place in the country category of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest 2004.

Although Puryear is satisfied with the mix of music the festival has so far, he feels there's still room for improvement. "I think we have a pretty good, well rounded selection. But we still haven't gotten any really great jazz in--I think that would be a nice addition."

The Fall Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance takes place from Thursday, Oct. 7 through Sunday, Oct. 10 at 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road, Silk Hope. Call 919-542-8142 or visit www.grassrootsfest.org/FallShakori for details . Single Day Prices: Thursday $15, Friday $25, Saturday $30, Sunday $20. All four days: $75. Parking is free for vehicles with four or more occupants; otherwise, it's $4 per day per vehicle or $10 per vehicle for all four days.

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