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Celebrate the coming of fall with these music festivals in Hall
John Jarrard concert
Attendees fill Brenau University's front lawn during the John Jarrard Foundation concert on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are preparing to to turn and fall, the air smells of pumpkin spice and the temperature will — we hope, if we’re lucky — soon drop. But before you cozy up inside with that latte, make your way outside for some live music at one of these two music festivals coming up in Hall County.

Fretting the Foothills Music Fest

Charles Locke has been hosting this music festival four times a year since 2017, but this year, he decided to go big by doing one music fest this fall.

The Fretting the Foothills Music Fest is free and scheduled noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, on the Braselton Town Green. 

As a musician and songwriter himself, Locke wanted to give locals a place to play their music in front of a crowd, something he found hard to do in the area. So he started out with inviting all local artists, but this year, he’s invited some bigger names to perform.

Fretting the Foothills Music Fest

When: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5

Where: Braselton Town Green, 9924 Davis St., Braselton

How much: Free

More info: www.frettingthefoothills.com

“We’ve actually got a lot of very well known bands and some folks out of Nashville coming in,” said Locke, organizer for the event. “Then we have some locals mixed in there, too.”

One of the artists he’s most excited about is Tommy Townsend. Locke said Townsend was close with Waylon Jennings before his death. And after Jennigns died, Townsend and Jennings’ band formed a new band of their own called Waymore’s Outlaws.

Townsend will be at the festival performing solo, some of his original songs as well as covering many of Jennings’ songs. Fretting the Foothills will also bring out artists like Eddie Ray, Greg Erwin, Heart of Pine, Chris Hamrick, Duke Brothers Band and Country River Band.

“It will pretty much be a country and Southern rock concert with a little bit of that outlaw country,” Locke said.

He’s expecting a few hundred people to come through the festival as the day goes on and hopes the once-a-year idea works well for everyone. He said with the vendors serving food, he’s confident it will be a success.

“The venue itself is really cool, in a historic area of Braselton with (Braselton Brewing) right across the street,” Locke said. “It goes well with the music ... It’s always just a blast. It’s a good family time.”

John Jarrard Foundation Concert

The 18th-annual installment of this benefit concert in Gainesville is set to be the biggest yet. Jody Jackson, executive director of the foundation, said he expects around 1,300 people to be out at Brenau University’s front lawn to hear music from some big-name songwriters in the country music industry.

The concert is scheduled 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. General admission tickets are $25.

John Jarrard Foundation Concert

When: 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28

Where: Brenau’s front lawn, 500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville

How much: $25 general admission

More info: www.johnjarrardfoundation.com

“They’re unbelievable,” Jackson said of the artists set to perform. “The guys we’ve got, I think together they have like 25 hit songs, Grammy Awards … It’s just going to be amazing.”

After picking the perfect weekend, — there is no Georgia football game scheduled on the 28th — things started to line up nicely. Jonathan Singleton, Lee Thomas Miller, Wyatt Durrette and Levi Lowrey will all be at the concert to perform some of the hits they’ve written for popular country artists.

Singleton was involved in the writing of “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” by Tim McGraw, “Why Don’t We Just Dance” by Josh Turner and many more. Miller wrote “In Color” by Jamey Johnson, “Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton, “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins and others.

“John Jarrard was an incredible guy in Nashville and the songwriting community and everybody knew him,” Jackson said. “So it was fairly easy to get guys to come down who knew John. And since we’ve turned this into a cool thing and they know people love the songs and stories behind them, they come and help us raise money for charity.”

Durrette, who Jackson said the foundation has been trying to get for years, has written songs for the Zac Brown Band since the beginning, including hits like “Chicken Fried,” “Toes” and “Colder Weather.” He worked with Luke Combs on “Beautiful Crazy,” too.

“(Durrette) wrote almost every one of the Zac Brown hits,” Jackson said. “He’s just a great guy and has so many hit songs, so I’m excited to have him.”

Lowrey has also written some hits for the Zac Brown Band along with songs like “How Could I” by John Driskell Hopkins and “Good Country People” by Travis Meadows.

With the artists coming to perform this year and the items up for auction — including a guitar signed by Luke Combs — Jackson is hoping to build on the $2 million the concert has raised for local charities over the years.

“I like to say it’s like The Bluebird Cafe meets Chastain Park,” Jackson said. “It’s socializing when everybody gets there, but then it’s time to sit down and listen to the songs and the stories behind them … It’s a beautiful atmosphere and we’re real fortunate about that.”

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