HemlockFest, the all-ages, eco-friendly festival, benefits efforts to save the endangered hemlock tree of North Georgia, which is severely threatened by the impact of a nasty insect called hemlock wooly adelgid. This year Indigo Girl Amy Ray joins a lineup that also features Col. Bruce Hampton & the Madrid Express, Deep Blue Sun, Donna Hopkins Band with special guest Ralph Roddenbery, The Pussy Willows, The Jason Kenney Band and others.
Enjoy primitive camping in the foothills of the Appalachians at Starbridge Retreat, a scenic 50-acre private resort surrounded by green forests, a 5-acre pond, primitive camping sites, a shower site and a 150-year-old cabin. Festivities include weekend-round music, food and beverage vendors, natural crafts vendors, interactive presentations and exhibits and lots of activities including canoeing, archery, knife-throwing, Kid’s Nature Village. After the last acts on Friday and Saturday, around 12:30 a.m., there are acoustic jams around a large bonfire at Little Stonehenge, a semi-natural amphitheatre, so bring your stringed instrument.
HemlockFest is hosted by the Lumpkin Coalition and proceeds from the festival are used to increase public awareness of eastern and Carolina hemlock tree problems and to provide financial support for the following: (1) all three labs in Georgia (University of Georgia, Young Harris College, and North Georgia College and State University) raising predatory beetles to combat the destructive hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect native to Asia; (2) assist private land owners and public agencies in managing the health of their Hemlock trees; and (3) to facilitate other projects that benefit North Georgia, Lumpkin County, its residents and visitors.
Friday only admission is $20; Saturday only is $30; and Sunday only is $15. A three-day camping and admission pass is $55 and tickets are available here. Starbridge Sanctuary is just an hour north of Atlanta at 396 Starbridge Rd. in Murrayville.