The organizers of Pickin’ For Patton last month in Hiawassee, GA have reported that the event was a huge success, raising a substantial amount of money for the continuing therapy costs of Patton Wages. The popular Georgia banjo and guitar teacher, and Volume Five banjo picker, suffered a debilitating stroke back in February, leaving him with a long road ahead living in a stroke rehab facility.
More than two thousand people showed up for the June 26 one day festival, and while the organizers don’t want to release a total take, you can do the math yourself with a $35 ticket price. Additional funds were raised on site with several instrument raffles, T-shirt sales, and food and drink vending. All proceeds were donated to Wages’ medical fund.
Music was provided by Volume Five, Alan Bibey, Deeper Shade of Blue, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Last Call with Brian & Maggie Stephens, Shannon Slaughter, Amanda Cook Band, Dave Adkins Band, Backline, and several others. Patton was not only able to attend, he was able to join Volume Five and his friends with Last Call on stage for their sets. A large recliner was brought out for him, and a hospital bed and a nurse were backstage should he experience any difficulties.
At the end of the program, organizers Rick and Pam Whiting, Wendy Newsome, and Melanie Wilson came on stage to thank everyone for their support, and to present Patton with a custom TKL guitar case with both his picture and the Pickin’ For Patton lineup on the front.
Rudy Fest in Kentucky also raised money that same weekend for Patton.
Wages is expected to make a complete recovery, but like all stroke patients, he will need extensive physical and occupational therapy to relearn the sorts of movements we all take for granted.
Anyone who was unable to attend can still contribute to the GoFundMe campaign online. Acoustic Cellar Guitars in Clarksville, GA, where Patton had been teaching for several years, still has some Pickin’ For Patton T-shirts for sale.
The entire four hour show was live-streamed on Facebook, and can also be viewed online.