PHOTO: Reckless Johnny Wales leads The Hip Replacements for a few songs at Saturday’s Blackberry Jam Festival. Playing alongside him is Carol Warren. / Photos by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
By the time Reckless Johnny Wales and The Hip Replacements were hitting the stage Saturday afternoon, the crowd at Boyd Mill Farm was growing larger and larger.
There was still lots of music to be played at the 16th annual Blackberry Jam Festival, and the place was like a mini-Pilgrimage Festival by the time ace guitarist and singer-songwriter Lee Roy Parnell was performing as the event’s headliner Saturday night.
A morning shower threatened activities just a bit, but the skies cleared and ideal weather set in for the rest of the day. The festival got started with a live two-hour radio broadcast of George Hamilton V and his Viva! Nashvegas program, and was followed by music for children spotlighting Farmer Jason and Roger Day.
Then acts such as Lockwood Barr, Heavy Drunk and the Hurricanes and MSG Acoustic Blues Trio, among others, set the tone for Parnell’s headline act.
“I don’t ever have to beg anybody to play,” said Carol Warren, who owns and lives on Boyd Mill Farm with her husband, Dale Whitehead. “We like to showcase as many local musicians as we possibly can, and we just happen to live in a place where we can showcase a lot of local musicians.”
Warren and Whitehead moved to the Boyd Mill Farm property in 1996, and within a few years they started the Blackberry Jam Festival, named after the rows and rows of blackberries grown there.
“We used to sit on the front porch and play music, and we thought this would be a good place to have something a little more organized,” Whitehead explained after he and Warren had finished playing with The Hip Replacements. “We started adding a little more music and a little more music, and now we’ve got the Blackberry Jam.”
When the festival first began, proceeds were going to various charities before the couple decided to make the Hard Bargain Association the sole beneficiary.
“We decided when we started this that we needed to do something that would give back directly to our own community,” Warren said. “Hard Bargain is concretely making such a huge difference in the Franklin community, and when we give money to them, we see exactly where it goes. It has been a fabulous partnership.”