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Pickin through the past at Chattooga River Festival
Inaugural event marks Deliverance anniversary in effort to protect river
Preservation of the Chattooga River and its natural beauty is the mission of the inaugural festival set for June 22-24 in Clayton and Long Branch, S.C.

Chattooga River Festival

When: June 22-24

Where: Clayton and Long Creek, S.C.

How much: Friday, $35; Saturday, $35, family pass $90; Sunday, $7.50; weekend pass, $95; VIP weekend pass $135

Visitors to this weekend’s Chattooga River Festival may be able to squint downriver and see shadows of Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight paddling the river to the echoes of “Dueling Banjos.”

The inaugural festival is set for Friday through Sunday and is organized by a coalition of groups from Georgia and South Carolina. The theme of this year’s festival marks the 40th anniversary of the 1972 movie “Deliverance” filmed on the Chattooga.

The festival will include events and activities in Clayton, GA and Long Creek, S.C.

The mission of the festival is to encourage environmental stewardship and protect the river through its responsible recreational use.

The movie created a huge surge in interest in the river and the whitewater industry as a whole and put a national spotlight on the Northeast Georgia mountain region.

The event begins Friday in Clayton with the Redemption & Salvation Art Reception. Cast member Ronny Cox will be on hand to sign his book, “Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew” at Timpson Creek Gallery. The Ronny Cox Band will perform at the Rabun County Civic Center.

Also included are an adventure race, a makeshift boat race, Gospel music and storytelling and opportunities to hike and view the river.

Saturday will feature an all-day music festival at Chattooga Belle Farm. Performers will include Sol Driven Train, The Mosier Brothers, Shannon Whitworth, Nitrograss, Conservation Theory, Heather Luttrell, Timberline, Michele Malone and finalists of a Dueling Banjo competition.

A Festival Village will be open to ticketholders with local art, crafts, food, demos, and activities that celebrate the culture of the region, plus family fun activities.

Sunday’s events include a river cleanup, Gospel and oldies music, a hike and a screening of “Deliverance” at the Tiger Drive-In.

Tickets are $7.50-$135. For more information, ticket sales and a full list of performers, visit