Between Sumter and Lake Marion, in the tiny town of Pinewood, South Carolina, a small festival started by a group of friends nine years ago has become a destination for several big names in bluegrass and roots music.
Where: Pineland Farm, 2377 Gaymon Rd., Pinewood
When: Friday, May 16, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, May 17, 1 p.m.-after 11 p.m.
With: Town Mountain, Shannon Whitworth Band, more
More Info: birdfestbluegrass.com.
Birdfest, named in honor of a beloved family mule on the hosting Pineland Farm, has slowly grown from an informal gathering to anticipated event, one that this year doubles a benefit for the Cypress Foundation of Clarendon Memorial Hospital, which provides resources to support local healthcare projects and programs.
The farm is owned by the family of musician Barrett Smith, who Columbia residents should be familiar with through his work with Shannon Whitworth, as well as his former membership in the Asheville, N.C.-based bluegrass band Town Mountain. The latter group, fresh off an appearance at April’s MerleFest in North Carolina, headlines this year’s lineup with its hard-driving traditional style alongside the Shannon Whitworth Band.
Other highlights include the bluesy mountain soul of Red June, Winnsboro singer-songwriter Susan Douglass Taylor, local banjo and guitar picker Randy Lucas, and Cosmic Possum, a version of a group that played the El Burrito bluegrass Thursdays regularly a few years back and includes Smith, Lucas and Taylor.
The two-day festival — a manageable hour and 20 minutes from Columbia — includes a few acts on Friday night and then a full day’s worth of music on Saturday. There will be food vendors, games for the kids and other stuff going on around the event’s two stages. For directions, ticket information, artist schedule and more, visit birdfestbluegrass.com.