We posted in early November about the passing of Roger Everett, who managed Everett’s Music Barn in Suwannee, GA for the past 40 years. During that time, most every bluegrass band who toured the east coast made a stop for a show at the Barn, which has been a center of bluegrass music in north central Georgia all that while.
With Roger’s passing, George Everett, the surviving member of the brothers who founded the Barn, has no interest in continuing its operation as a music venue, and the building and property are up for sale.
A number of local bluegrass fans are in the process of trying to raise the necessary funds to purchase the property and continue the tradition as a non-profit L.L.C. Spearheading this effort is Brian Stephens, who tells us that he has already received commitments for $17,000 of the $85,000 they will need to buy the Barn.
Brian is a life-long bluegrass musician (guitar and vocals), who performs with his wife Maggie on bass. They have been working of late with Donna Hughes. He grew up listening to bluegrass at Everett’s, and is dedicated to see it resurrected in a self-supporting form. If they can raise the funds to obtain the property, he feels certain that revenue from the shows can maintain the facility in perpetuity.
“I have opened up a bank account and currently accepting donations and or buy-ins. What we plan to do is make everyone who wants to put in $500 or more a shareholder. Each year we will assess the gains and give shareholders their money back, not to gain a profit, just to break even. There are also improvements to the buildings that need to be done; this will come out of gains also.”
Anyone who would like to become a $500 shareholder is invited to contact Brian for more details. He can be reached by phone (770-601-3090) or email. Brian said that George Everett will sell to the first buyer with cash in hand, so time is of the essence if they are to save this Georgia bluegrass institution.
Tommy Everett, George Everett’s son, shared a bit about the history of the Barn…
“They started playing music in the house around 1964, when Uncle Jerry lost his life as a Gwinnett County Police Officer. Friends would gather on Saturday night to help soothe the family. Then they started recording some Friday night gospel shows for the local radio station. Diane Westry did the recording at that time.
In 1968, after I lost my mom, my dad was all to pieces, so he helped build what is now the music room on the side of the house. It had a stage with a single microphone, chairs in the front. There were no refreshments at that time, but Diane and Frances Westry would sometimes pass the hat and run up to the store to get some coke, ice, etc., so people would have some kind of refreshments.
Then they decided to build the Barn and it was finished in mid 1971. Many patrons that still come to the Barn today, helped construct the building, donated wood, and done whatever it took to get Barn up and going. When the concession stand was put in the back, Diane always took care of it. And for the last 46 years, Diane has always just took care of it. We’ve lost just about that whole generation to cancer and other illnesses, but the Barn was always run the same way. Diane always carried out the orders of the family members. She was the pillar of Everett’s Barn.”
Sounds like something worth preserving to me.