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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

21st Bear on the Square reveals strong mainstage lineup for 2017

Feb 14, 2017 03:19PM ● By Tracy McCoy

Dahlonega's Bear on the Square Mountain Festival has announced a strong lineup for its 21st annual event, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, in and around the town's Historic Public Square.Ā 

MainStage Concert Promoter Ralph Taylor said this year's group of performers includes a mix of bands which are new to Bear, as well as returning favorites. Representative of the new groups is the April Verch Band, led by Ottawa Valley, Canada, native April Verch, who is a fiddler, singer and stepdancer. Returning favorites include The Howlin' Brothers, who received a highly enthusiastic response when they played at the 20th annual Bear last April.

Taylor said, "Among the new bands, the April Verch Band and emerging artists Horseshoes & Hand Grenades might be new to Bear, but they are well known in acoustic music circles as award-winning, high energy bluegrass and folk groups that will keep festival attendees on their feet Saturday afternoon".

Once again this year, admission to the festival's MainStage concert tent on Saturday and Sunday will be free. The complete list of 2017 performers includes the following:

* April Verch Band

* The Howlin' Brothers

* Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

* BlueBilly Grit

* Donna Hughes

* John Lilly

* Threadbare Skivvies

* The Georgia Crackers

* Ugly Cousin

* Crooked Mile

* Georgia Pick & Bow All-Stars

* Taking the stage for the Country Auction and Dinner on Friday night, April 21, will be Curtis Jones & Matt Mundy.

The Sunday Morning Gospel Jam, one of the event's most popular programs, will again be led by Glenda Pender, Bear committee president, and will feature gospel songs from many MainStage performers as well as other regional and local musicians.

The Bear on the Square Festival celebrates the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional craft and folkways. Held in and around Dahlonega's Historic Public Square, the yearly festival will get underway with pre-event activities starting around mid-day on Friday, April 21. Early-arriving local and visiting pickers will begin the jamming on the square, and this will go on all weekend. The other Friday event will be the Live and Silent Country Auction that night in the MainStage Tent, which features music, food and wine. A juried Artists Marketplace on Saturday and Sunday spotlights traditional mountain crafts and artist demonstrations. Other highlights of the weekend include storytelling, free music workshops/demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday; and an Acoustic Open Mic event and dance team demonstrations on Saturday. For more details about the festival, including the complete lineup and more information about performers and artists, schedules, and updates between now and the event, visit

Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, Inc., which stages the festival each year, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit cultural arts organization dedicated to preserving the culture of the Southern Appalachian region. Tax deductible donations to help the organization pay for producing the show each year are welcome and can be sent to P.O. Box 1015, Dahlonega, GA 30533.

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