The Kennedy Creek Old-Time Festival

The Kennedy Creek Old-Time Music Festival takes place every autumn at the Kennedy Creek Resort  in Suches, GA. Participants are invited to reserve cabins, yurts, or campsites, and food is available at the resort restaurant. Guest artists lead jams, teach workshops, and present concerts, but the main event is always jamming with friends. Admission is free.

Yurts at the Kennedy Creek Resort in Suches, GA Pavillion at the Kennedy Creek Resort in Suches, GA

Upcoming Festival

The next festival will take place September 5–8, 2023. Reserve your lodging now at the resort website. The 2024 festival will feature guest artists Mickey Nelligan and Sasha Hsuczyk and a fiddle contest coordinated by Henry Barnes. The program will include workshops, performances, and a square dance. Join the Kennedy Creek Old-Time Festival Facebook group or watch this page for updates!

Mickey Nelligan is a multi-instrumentalist from the Atlanta area. He grew up learning traditional music from his father Mick Kinney, and was steeped in the stringband music of the South. Best known for his greasy Georgia-style fiddle playing, he also can be heard playing the banjo, guitar, button accordion, and more, with a repertoire that ranges from old time to traditional Irish, Cajun, and blues.

Originally from Los Angeles, Sasha Hsuczyk is now based in Atlanta. A fiddler, guitar player, and singer, she learned to play the traditional stringband music of Georgia from her partner’s family, the Kinneys. Previously, she studied traditional music at the University of Limerick, and finished her degree with a certificate in ethnomusicology at Hampshire College, where she did a research project on legendary fiddler Julia Clifford. She is also known for her leadership in the Sacred Harp community, and is a counselor and teacher at Camp Fasola in Alabama.

Together, Mickey and Sasha have a shared history of playing music in New Orleans, where they performed around the city with their Cajun honkytonk band, the Sister Street Aces. Currently they are performing as a duo sharing their repertoire of old time fiddle tunes and early Carter Family songs.

Henry Barnes has played Old-Time fiddle his entire life and has dozens of blue ribbons, cultural accolades, and successful students to show for it. His love for culture and the folk process are still evident to this day as he digitizes field recordings and visits with his elders. Henry specializes in the music of the Ohio River Valley, where commercial music heavies of the early 20th century like Clark Kessinger, Cowboy Copas, and Doc Roberts of the left their mark, as well as the local folk traditions that arose from migrants during the revolutionary war, reconstruction, and industrialization whose legacies are harder to document yet tell a familiar story of life in America.

Mickey Nelligan and Sasha Hsuczyk Henry Barnes

Kennedy Creek Old-Time Festival Fiddle Contest

Rules and Regulations
  1. Preliminary: Two divisions including Open (any age), Junior (age 16 and under). Juniors may compete in the open division but may not then also compete in the Junior division.
  2. Each contestant will play one tune in the Preliminary Round.
  3. There are no rules disqualifying any styles or tricks but judges will be listening for style and repertoire that represents the region.
  4. Scores will be tabulated directly after the end of the preliminary round and top 5 finalists will be announced and posted immediately.
  5. Finals will begin 30 minutes after finalists are announced. It is during this time that finalists will draw for finals order.
  6. Open Finals will consist of 2 tunes.
  7. Tied scores may result in additional playoff rounds. Scoring between rounds is not cumulative.
  8. Winners and awards will be announced directly after finals have finished. All contestants are responsible for their own festival admission fees. The contest is open to all participants, including non-Georgia residents.

Schedule (Subject to Change)
Saturday, September 7
  • 12:00–1:30pm: Registration
  • 1:30–2:00pm: Order Drawing
  • 2:00–2:45pm: Junior Division
  • 3:00–4:00pm: Open Division
  • 4:00–4:15pm: Junior Awards
  • 4:15–4:30pm: Drawing for Finals
  • 4:30–5:00pm: Open Finals
  • 5:00pm: Open Division Awards

Workshop at Kennedy Creek Old-Time Festival Airplane at the Kennedy Creek Resort in Suches, GA

Past Festivals

September 7–10, 2023

  • Guest artists: The Short House Serenaders (Sarah Adams, Van Burchfield & Isaac Stroupe)
  • Sponsors: The American Musicological Society & The Jon Bekoff Project

September 29–October 2, 2022

  • Guest artists: The Griddle Lickers (Mick & Evan Kinney) and Hog-Eyed Man (Jason Cade & Rob McMaken)
  • Sponsors: The American Musicological Society & The Jon Bekoff Project

September 30–October 3, 2021

  • Guest artists: Emily Schaad, John Herrman, Meredith McIntosh, Allie Jean & Frank Lee
Tent at the Kennedy Creek Resort in Suches, GA Jamming at Kennedy Creek Old-Time Festival