As part of the Museum’s “Music in the Mountains” series, the celebration of tradition will continue on this day at the “Ninth Annual Hagood Mill Storytelling Festival.” The hills around the ole mill will echo with the whispers, howls ‘n hollers of some of the Southeast’s best storytellers sharing bits about all sorts of folks, funnies, cultures and places.
Returning to again host what has become one of Hagood Mill’s favorite annual events is storyteller, musician and radio personality, John T. Fowler.
From the rolling hills of upstate South Carolina with family ties to the western North Carolina mountains, John Fowler’s storytelling is a blast of old-time energy of yesteryear introducing traditional yarns and folktales from the Carolina region. Those Appalachian family ties run deep in John, which in turn creates his friendly and energetic personality.
He also is an old-time mountain banjo and harmonica master, and plays several other traditional instruments, occasionally blending them into his programs.
John’s stories and old-time songs, geared for audiences young and old, are stepping stones of history and southern culture.
John is also a researcher, collector, preservationist and writer as well as the host of an old time radio show on NC public radio station WNCW 88.7 FM.
This year’s festival features several talented tellers gracing the stages, porches and shade trees at the mill. Joining John Fowler will be, from Charleston, Hawk Hurst and his entertaining tales of wisdom and lore from long-ago cultures. Rema Keen comes to us from the Blue Ridge of Southwest Virgina… by way of Campobello, SC and many wonderful places between the two. Some great local talent will join us as several members of CAST (Clemson Area StoryTellers) will be on hand for the day. Throw in a Four Mule Pile-Up, a couple of authors, some antique cars and the usual wonders presented every month by the Hagood Mill’s exceptional collection of volunteer artisans and living historians and you have a day that everyone in your family will enjoy.
Hawk Hurst, a cultural artist and storyteller, was born and raised on a farm and ranch in rural Kansas. His educational background includes a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Education from Lesley College and the Audubon Expedition Institute, as well as Bachelors of Science degrees in both Political Science and in Psychology, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma.
He went on to teach at Appalachian State University, offering courses in “Personal Mythology and the Oral Tradition”. Hawk’s stories and songs dynamically bring the wonders and wisdom of ancient cultures to life.
Many of his tales incorporate unique musical instruments crafted by Hawk himself. An eight-time recording artist, Hawk is also the author of a children’s book entitled, “The Story of the First Flute.” Hawk has offered his lively performances for nearly two decades all across the nation, as well as in South Africa, Italy, and Canada.
Recently, he served as the 2008 President of the South Carolina Storytelling Network and as the co-director for both the 2007 and 2008 Stories for Life Storytelling Festival and the Piccolo Spoleto Children’s Festival. Hawk and his wife, Ayal, currently live in Charleston, South Carolina, where they operate “Merhaven Bed no Breakfast” and share an art studio.
Rema Keen, a native of the mountains of Southwest Virginia, comes from a family of educators and storytellers. She is a professional playwright, storyteller, actor, writer and activist. A graduate of Virginia Intermont College, with degrees in English Literature and Theatre, Rema has performed in a number of national and regional theatres including The Barter Theatre in historic Abingdon Virginia, where she trained for four years in the esteemed acting and technical fellowship program.
Keen has also performed with Ballet For Young Audiences in New York City, Actors Guild of Lexington, KY and with Pleiades Theatre Company based in Louisville, KY. Keen received most of her training in storytelling, theater and oral history collection while touring with Appalshop's Roadside Theater, a national touring ensemble based in Whitesburg, KY. She toured with Roadside Theater nationally for 4 years writing, performing, organizing and conducting Arts in Education residencies and storytelling workshops.
Rema has co-founded a production company, Two Many Hats, and has toured all over the united states as an actor, musician and artist in residence, performing at festivals, in schools, plays and concerts, and conducting storytelling and performance workshops with adults and children.
Rema is currently a teaching artist with the South Carolina Arts Commission. An avid gardener and grower of perennials and herbs, Rema now calls Campobello, South Carolina her home.
Clemson Area StoryTellers (CAST) Guild promotes and celebrates the art of storytelling. The Purpose of CAST is the preservation of oral narratives – stories passed down from generation to generation – for families and the community and to celebrate the performance of stories for all ages, children to adults. Representing the guild at this year’s Hagood Mill Storytelling Festival will be Billy Boggs, Lisa Eister, Matthew Phillips and Judy Seeley.
Their collective stories come from many cultures and include traditional folktales, fairy tales, family and personal stories, tall tales and urban myths. Clemson Area StoryTellers meets the fourth Tuesday of every month except December at The ARTS Center in Clemson.
CAST invites listeners and tellers to those evenings of family friendly stories, poetry and music! For more information, go to http://explorearts.org/contact.htm .
To keep you entertained before the day’s last tell, Four Mule Pile-Up, an outstanding stringband featuring Andy Brooks, Don and Barb Massey along with Briggs Hamilton, will offer up a musical interlude. Their refreshing change of pace will get you to toe tapping and ready for the 3:00 p.m. grand finale featuring “Ghost, Supernatural and Strange Tales”.
Join in the fun from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for this FREE day of tall tales, whoppers, folklore and good ol’ stories along with the monthly dose of milling, music and memories. The water-powered 1845 gristmill, one of the finest examples of nineteenth century technology in the Upstate, operates just as it has for the last century-and-a-half and will be running throughout the day. In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits and wheat flour will be available, as well as Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items.
The Hagood Mill, as usual, will host a variety of folklife and traditional arts demonstrations each month, including blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flintknapping, moonshining, quilting, spinning, weaving, tin-smithing, woodcarving and more! Pay each and everyone a visit and be sure to tell those volunteers how much you, and we, appreciate their unique service.
Also on hand for the day will be several local authors reading from, talking about and selling autographed copies of their books. Mechanical marvels will also be plentiful as, in addition to our own 1890 Daniel Pratt Cotton Engine, the Old 96 District Model A Ford Club will bring along a fine collection of their restored automobiles from days gone by.
“Music in the Mountains 2010” is sponsored by a private benefactor. The Pickens County Museum of Art & History is funded in part by Pickens County, members and friends of the museum and a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
For the safety and convenience of our visitors, the Hagood Mill now has a parking
field directly across from the main site.
There promises to be lots to do and lots of fun! So, head on out, enjoy a plate of barbecue or a couple of hot dogs and enjoy a day at the Mill.
Show your support for the Mill and the Pickens County Museum by joining them at this monthly Third Saturday event.
The Hagood Mill operates, rain or shine, the third Saturday of every month and is located just 3 miles north of Pickens or 5 ½ miles south of Cherokee Foothills Scenic Hwy 11 off SC Hwy 178 at 138 Hagood Mill Road. Hagood Mill is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 until 4:00, to tour the buildings and grounds and to visit the Mill Site Gift Shop.
For additional information please contact the Hagood Mill Historic Site & Folklife Center at (864) 898-2936 or the Pickens County Museum at (864) 898-5963.