If you’ve ever attended Rudy Fest or the Poppy Mountain Music Festival in Kentucky, chances are you’ve met Jerry “Chainsaw” Bryant. For some time Chainsaw has done maintenance on site, helped park cars, and done odd jobs at Poppy Mountain. Always friendly and ready to help, his smiling face riding his golf cart over the years has become as big a part of the festivals as the bands and the jamming that folks have come to expect.
On March 4, the home where Chainsaw lived with his elderly mother caught fire. Located not far from Poppy Mountain on Trumbo Hill, Bryant returned home around 11:00 a.m. and found the place filled with smoke, and his mother disoriented from the fumes. He was able to get her outside and contact the fire department, who were able to quell the blaze, but their home was a total loss.
Tom Carper with Rudy Fest took Chain and his mom, Flo, into their home, and they now have a temporary home in a trailer nearby. Everyone in the community is helping the Bryants as best they can. Red Cross stepped in with some food and clothing, and the Haldeman Fire Department and Rudy Fest have organized a couple of fundraisers to help them recover from this loss.
Carper tells us that everyone in the region loves Chainsaw, a simple man with no pretensions, who is always the first to show up to help a neighbor in need. “He has a heart of gold – would run through a fire for any of us.” Bryant is also a volunteer firefighter in his community.
To assist with this effort, a GoFundMe campaign has been established online, with a goal of raising $20,000 for the Bryants. But Tom says they know that won’t be enough.
“Our goal is to replace him something on his property that is better than what he had. We can get a nice trailer up there for them both. Everybody has jumped in on this. He is more deserving than anyone else I know.”
With that in mind, a two-day benefit show has been scheduled for May 12-13 at Poppy Mountain. Bands are just starting to be finalized, with Hammertowne, Kevin Prater Band, and Charlie Woods the first to confirm. Tickets will be $40 for two days, with camping, and all proceeds with go to the Bryants. A good turnout could provide all the needed funds over that weekend, along with some fine music and good times.
And you can bet that Chain will be there helping out.
Anyone who is able is encouraged to share any contribution you can for Chainsaw and Flo, who is also known as “Splitting Maw,” via the GoFundMe page online.
Further details about the May festival benefit will be posted soon on the Rudy Fest Facebook page.