AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA – The annual Aiken Bluegrass Festival brings patrons from near and far to enjoy two days of live music, but the event also attracts many vendors.
Since the start the events purpose is to raise money for Great Oak, a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Aiken, South Carolina. The hope is the weekend will raise anywhere between $15,000 to $20,000 dollars.
Aiken Bluegrass Festival organizers pride themselves on giving patrons a one-of-a-kind experience through handpicked bands and artists. The festival also focuses on enriching Aiken, through partnerships with organizations like the Greater Aiken Integrated Trails Foundation, also known as G.A.I.T.
“Last year we made a little push to get more [bike] riding in Aiken.” Eric Fry, an event organizer, told WJBF News Channel 6.
The bike-loving festival encourages people to ride around the fairgrounds. A big push for more trails in the city that has recently been discussed by the Aiken County Council.
Yet the stage isn’t just shared by musicians. Many local and regional vendors setup small shops on the Aiken Fairgrounds.
“I kind of think of it as a secret little society of people who just like to come and enjoy music, enjoy life, enjoy meeting like-minded people and just having and being free,” said Chris Marshall, owner of Hippy Do Da Creations.
Aiken’s very own Sankofa Gordon says shoppers are intrigued by the unique handcrafted pieces they find at the festival, but it’s not just about making the sale. Sometimes the conversations are the real treasures. “Whether it’s the dream-catchers or some of the gemstones that we are working with.. the eye catchers open up for conversations. So we can share insight on things,” Gordon told WJBF News Channel 6.
Some routine festival-goers say the colorful prints, tie-dye and unbeatable prices at the Bluegrass Festival are also a big part of the appeal.
“You can’t find deals, 3 for $20 dollars nowhere. Nowhere. We go to a lot of festivals,” said Mike Mullins, a festival goer from Georgia.
With tons of activities, food and vendors many people come back year after year.
“We get to see people who are coming from Columbia and other places. This is like a gathering spot,” Marshall said.
In case you didn’t get a chance to make it out there this weekend the Aiken Bluegrass Festival is held every year. To buy tickets or sign up to be a vendor please click here.