Carolina Chocolate Drops, Norman Blake Headline Bear on the Square Festival

Organizers of Dahlonega’s annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival are excited that their upcoming 12th annual event, the 2008 weekend of music and art, has what is probably "the most exciting lineup of entertainers in the history of the festival".

With the dynamic Carolina Chocolate Drops and legendary old-time musicians Norman and Nancy Blake as headliners. The Blakes will be joined on stage by famed fiddler James Bryan and his guitarist/singer daughter Rachel.

Throughout the three-day event, scheduled Friday through Sunday, April 18-20 in Dahlonega, Ga., visiting and local musicians will gather in groups to jam on the lawn of the historic Gold Museum and at other points around the Public Square. A schedule of music workshops featuring many of the festival’s talented performers is being conducted.

However, there’s much more to the Bear on the Square than the music. Also taking place around the Public Square is the festival’s juried Mountain Marketplace, offering handcrafted art based on Appalachian culture. The artists and their work will be available at booths around the Public Square.

Other scheduled performers include multi-talented acoustic musician John Lilly; Dahlonega’s Curtis Jones, who has entertained bluegrass audiences throughout the world, and his singer/guitarist wife Holly; Hair of the Dog, led by longtime musicians whose offerings range from Cajun to zydeco to blues; the Skillet Lickers, an old-time band which was founded in the 1920s by Gid Tanner, the grandfather of current band leader Phil Tanner and great grandfather of the band’s fiddler, Russell Tanner; Gold Rush with Neel Pender, a Dahlonega-based band which features some of the area’s best bluegrass musicians; The Solstice Sisters, three women from Athens harmonizing old-time country ballads, traditional folk, and 30s styled swing; Lo-Fi Breakdown, a high-energy, old-school bluegrass quintet from Asheville, N.C., with a mix of traditional and original material; and the Myers Family and Friends, which sings and plays old-time family harmony singing that has been passed along in their family for the past 80 years. Also scheduled are a Young Guns performance, spotlighting some of the area’s finest young musicians, and a Sunday morning Gospel jam.

Another popular local bluegrass band, Uncle Daddy, will provide music for the annual Live Country Auction, which will be held in the performance tent in Hancock Park on Friday night. Doc Johnson’s Traveling Miracle Medicine Show, as well as a heritage center demonstrating mountain traditions, and special children’s activities will also be at Hancock Park.

More information about the 2008 Bear on the Square Mountain Festival can be found at

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the show each year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization whose mission is to preserve and celebrate the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional craft, and folkways. Tax deductible donations are welcome and can be sent to P.O. Box 338, Dahlonega, GA 30533.