The 22nd Annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival celebrates Appalachian culture with two days of music, storytelling, an Artist Marketplace, demonstrations, workshops and more, all on the town square in Dahlonega. Grab your six-string, fiddle, dulcimer or even some spoons, because joining in on one of the open jams is a Bear on the Square traditions.
Among the many acts taking the stages are: Crooked Mile, a North Georgia-based bluegrass band; Ugly Cousin, a Dahlonega-based band with a “golden” thread of traditional music woven throughout their repertoire; singer/songwriter Wil Maring and virtuoso guitarist/fiddler Robert Bowlin; husband and wife duo Zoe & Cloyd; acoustic roots band Front Country; chamberfolk trio Harpeth Rising; Americana/bluegrass ensemble Chuck Nation Band; all-female string band Good in the Kitchen; folk singer/rock and roller Jonathan Byrd; phenomenal guitarist Curtis Jones and Primal Roots; and students from the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School.
The Saturday night special event, the Moonlight Jam, will be hosted by Georgia jam band veteran and banjo master Rev. Jeff Mosier and presented by Jekyll Brewing Company. The jam will include guest artists assembled by Mosier, who was a founding member of both Blueground Undergrass and Aquarium Rescue Unit, with opportunities for festival goers to join in. Following the Moonlight Jam will be a new event called Bare Tales, storytelling for adults.
The single most popular event each year at the Bear Festival is the Sunday Morning Gospel Jam led by Glenda Pender. Come early if you want a seat because the MainStage Tent fills up quickly. After a processional to the MainStage led by bagpiper Sam Johnson, an amazing house band takes the stage at 11 a.m. Glenda then invites guests from the incredibly-talented pool of musicians who gather in Dahlonega for Bear weekend to join the house band onstage to sing a gospel song. It’s a musical event to experience.