23rd Annual Bear on the Square Festival April 27-28
The 23rd annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival presents a talented line-up of musicians, storytellers, artists, and more who will entertain audiences and share Appalachian traditions throughout Dahlonega’s historic square on April 27-28.
"We're very excited about our 23rd annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival,” said Glenda Pender, founder and festival chair. “As always, true to our mission, we present top-notch bluegrass and old-time music as well as crafts and folk art in the Marketplace and Appalachian Storytelling in the park.
Pre-Festival Events on Friday, April 26
- Jamming on the Square: Musicians begin gathering around the square mid-day to kick-off a weekend of jamming in numerous spots downtown. This tradition is a favorite of the jammers, many of whom have been coming for decades.
- Live and Silent Country Auction: The Live and Silent Country Auction, which is the Bear’s largest fundraiser, starts in the MainStage Tent at 5 p.m. with a preview of auction items accompanied by food and drinks from two Dahlonega restaurants, Shenanigans Restaurant & Irish Pub and Bourbon Street Grille. The $5 admission covers the cost of a bidding paddle, dinner, and wine. Live music will be provided by legendary North Georgia musician Curtis Jones beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the live auction starts at 7 p.m. As in years past, there may be a few surprise guests!
Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28
- Music in the MainStage Tent: Bands and individual musicians scheduled in the MainStage Tent throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday are: Bill and the Belles, Skillet Lickers, Georgia Crackers, Crooked Mile, Underhill Rose, Circus No. 9, Jeff Mosier, Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin, Curtis Jones, Ugly Cousin, and Georgia Pick & Bow students. On Sunday at 11 a.m., the Gospel Jam led by Glenda Pender expects its usual standing-room-only crowd for what is always a festival favorite. There is no cost for admission to any performance.
- Moonlight Jam in MainStage Tent: Moonlight Jam, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, will again be hosted by Rev. Jeff Mosier, a banjo artist and one of the South's most beloved musicians. The jam, sponsored by Jekyll Brewing Company, will feature performances by Mosier's band and other guest performers, as well as jammers who bring their instruments and voices to pick and sing with the pros.
- Artist Marketplace: Held around the Historic Public Square on Saturday and Sunday, the Marketplace presents juried work from more than 70 regional artists, including paintings by folk artist Billy Roper, the festival's Heritage Sponsor. Pottery, glasswork, wood turning, drawings, fiber arts, leather, and jewelry are a few examples of the artwork that will be for sale during the festival.
- Storytelling: Storytelling kicks-off in the MainStage Tent at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with an Appalachian Storytelling Sampler by Debbie From. Storytelling then moves to the Zack McConnell Stage in Hancock Park for these sessions on Saturday:
- 11:00 – There’s Stories in those Hills
- 12:00 – Appalachian Tall Tales
- 1:00 – Ghosts of Appalachia
- 2:00 – Workshop-From the Page to the Stage (Gwendolyn Napier)
- Free Workshops, Demos and Dances: Numerous free workshops and demos are offered both days in Hancock Park and at Uncle Woodrow’s Tent for festival goers who want to learn more about various aspects of music from pennywhistle and clogging to guitar, ukulele, singing and more.
- The Old-Time Mountain Dance occurs at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday in front of the Visitors Center. Dance music will be provided by John Kelly and The “Beary” Good Stringband
- Bears Den: The Bears Den on North Park St. near Hancock Park will offer alcoholic beverages for purchase from four sponsors: Montaluce Winery, Jekyll Brewing, Bold Rock Cider, and Etowah Meadery.
For more information, go to www.bearonthesquare.org.