Celebrate with BBQ, Beer, and Cupcakes on Flannery O’Connor’s Farm


            MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Packway Handle Band of Athens, one of America’s top touring bluegrass bands, will headline the annual Bluegrass Festival at Andalusia Farm, the final home of author Flannery O’Connor, on Nov. 5.

The festival will be staged in the large field behind the farmhouse where O’Connor lived the final 14 years of her life.  The opening acts will be popular Macon-area bluegrass band Good Country People followed by the Skillet Lickers, a heritage band from the 1920s often billed as country music’s first super-group.

The festival will run from 3-8 p.m., starting with porch pickin’ from 3-5 p.m. The public is invited to bring instruments to join in the fun. 45-minute guided trail walks are offered at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Melanie Devore (Georgia College Professor of Plant Biology) and her students will lead these walks to share the history, plants and wildlife of the 500+-acre farm.

 An interactive activities area for families is a new addition this year.  A Craft Zone will be managed by Georgia College Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority members who will lead participants in making instruments from recycled materials.

Admission is $10 for adults. Students and seniors are $5 and children under 12 are free.  Ample parking is available at no charge.

Food and drink will be available for purchase on site from Milledgeville businesses. Old Clinton Barbeque will offer sandwiches, Gil’s Package Store will provide wine and the newly launched Wise Blood IPA along with the popular Emergency Drinking Beer from Wild Heaven Craft Beers, an event sponsor. Doodle’s Cupcake Bakery will sell its legendary sweets. Festival patrons are encouraged to enjoy the property before the music starts. Leashed pets are welcome. The public is invited to bring chairs, blankets, coolers, flashlights and picnic suppers. Off-duty Baldwin County deputies will provide security.

“I hope folks who come to the festival will take time during their stay to enjoy this remarkable place that inspired a great writer,” Wylie said. “People should feel free to enjoy the property before the music starts.”

The Packway Handle Band will take the stage at 7 p.m. Formed in 2003, PHB was voted most popular bluegrass band three years in a row in the readers’ choice Flagpole Magazine Music Awards in Athens. The group, known for its three- and four-part harmonies and wildly energetic performances, was a finalist three straight years in the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition. 2015 began with the Packway Handle Band touring in support of their Yep Roc release, Take It Like A Man, alongside producer and collaborator, folk surrealist, Jim White. The band joined Kid Rock and Foreigner for forty amphitheater shows on the 2015 Cheap Date Tour. The tour took the Athens five-piece to all corners of the continental United States and included 10-consecutive sold out shows at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Detroit, a feat that was commemorated by Billboard Magazine.http://www.packwayhandle.com/

“We are delighted to welcome back Packway Handle Band to the festival,” said Elizabeth Wylie, executive director of the Flannery O’Connor-Andalusia Foundation. “Their work has been described as ‘dark and passionate … with a side of blood,’ so they certainly echo the best of Flannery O’Connor’s Southern gothic work. Each of the three bands brings a different style of bluegrass to the stage so there will be something for every taste.”

            Music starts at 5 p.m. with Good Country People. The band draws its name from the Flannery O’Connor story of the same name. The band is a folk/bluegrass/country conglomerate based in Macon that has had fluid membership throughout its existence.  For Andalusia's Bluegrass Festival, GCP co-founder Andy Silver plays banjo/rhythm guitar and sings lead vocals.  Longtime local favorite and Red Heifer herself Nina Talon plays stand-up bass and sings as well. Andy and Nina are joined by Bray Carr playing lead guitar, mandolin and singing, his wife Erica Carr, who brings background and lead vocals, and daughter Lola Carr, who plays ukelele and sings lead/background vocals too.

The Skillet Lickers will take the stage at 6 p.m. The band’s name is synonymous with string band music in Georgia. Their recordings have sold millions and their style remains influential to the development of the country, folk, and bluegrass music. Today's Skillet Lickers are carrying on a tradition of string band music going back four generations. Phil Tanner, and his son Russ, keep the Skillet Licker tradition going with the present day band. The Skillet Lickers' repertoire includes breakdown songs like "Cumberland Gap" and "Hen Cackle", comic folk songs "Three Nights Drunk" and "The Burglar Man". They also rely on a variety of country and bluegrass standards showing how the original Skillet Lickers' work has influenced more modern music.http://www.skilletlickers.org/

O’Connor, whose “Complete Short Stories” was voted one of the 10 most important books of the 20th Century by a panel of American and British authors, wrote much of her significant work when she lived at Andalusia from 1950-64. She died of complications from lupus 51 years ago at age 39. She continues to inspire writers, artists and musicians including Lucinda Williams, Patterson Hood, and Bruce Springsteen, who cited O’Connor’s “Complete Short Stories” as the “one book that made me who I am today.”

The 12th Annual Andalusia Bluegrass Festival is made possible in part by support from The Knight Foundation Fund administered by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, from the Vibrant Communities Program administered by the Georgia Council for the Arts, and by Wild Heaven Craft Beer.


The Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, preservation and appreciation of Andalusia Farm, the final home of Flannery O'Connor, and to perpetuate her place in the roster of great writers of the 20th Century. The 500+-acre farm is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Thursday through Sunday. For more information: www.andalusiafarm.org


For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Wylie, Executive Director