The Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County has announced the 17th annual Georgia Cowboy Poets Gathering at Chapel Hill High School on Saturday, March 2. The evening performance begins at 7 p.m. Showcasing local performers and members of the Douglas County Cowboy Poets as well as musicians Bill Turnipseed, David Fillingim and Justin Hicks who will sing and yodel, playing guitar and harmonica for Old West and traditional cowboy songs, this special event is presented by the Douglas County Cowboy Poets, a satellite of the Cultural Arts Council. Tickets are $10 per person ($8 for CAC members, seniors and students). The 2013 Georgia Cowboy Poets Gathering is dedicated to Georgia cowboy poets Doc Stovall and John Linville who passed away in 2012.
For the Saturday night performance, Douglas County Cowboy Poets founders Joel Hayes and Charlie Holloway have organized a fun-filled evening of song, rhyme and verse. Showcased performers in 2013 include cowboy poets Jerry Warren, recognized by the Georgia State Senate as the “Official Cowboy Poet of the State of Georgia;” David Fillingim, author of Will Rogers Medallion Award-winning Georgia Cowboy Poets, published in 2011; Charlie Holloway who authored Old Saddles & Good Advice and who is as widely known and respected for his traditional cow camp cooking as for his poems; and Joel Hayes who is known as the father of Georgia Cowboy Poetry and who has performed at every Douglas County Cowboy Poets Gathering since the first one held at Hudson’s by the Lake in 1997. The gathering’s master of ceremonies Frank B. Wood has been performing cowboy poetry for the past 45 years. Also performing poetry will be Georgian Tom Kerlin and Steve Porter from South Carolina. The 17th annual Georgia Cowboy Poets gathering will feature musical performances by guitarists Bill Turnipseed and Wayne Corley, Douglasville native harmonica player and poet Justin Hicks from Jacksonville, Florida, and David Fillingim. A newcomer to the musicians this year will be Tom Stavran on the Appalachian mountain dulcimer; Stavran teaches Appalachian mountain dulcimer lessons and free guided jam sessions at the Cultural Arts Center monthly. Other special guests include the Cowboy Poets Kids from Chapel Hill High School: Sierra Gunter, Brooke Gray, Brian Belton, Chelsea Reese, Ciarra Henderson, Ivan Washington, Derrion Burse and Lanese Love. These eight students, selected by the Douglas County Cowboy Poets through an audition process, will be reciting poetry and cowboy songs.
Cowboys and cowgirls are ever-popular American icons, and folklorists trace the practice of composing verse about life and work on the range back to the trail drive era after the Civil War. Most of this nation's first cowboys, the cowboys of the trail drives during the late 1800s, had Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Gaelic roots. Their distinctive lingo and their songs and poems were largely based on traditions of British balladry. It has been ever since those early days that their poetry has circulated orally and in print, sometimes anonymously but often with a known author. Many of these verses are still recited and sung today. The American cowboy culture is a fascinating amalgam of Irish storytelling, Scottish seafaring and cattle tending, Moorish and Spanish horsemanship, European cavalry traditions, African improvisation and Native American experience.
The modern Cowboy Poets movement began in 1979 when the Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Arts convened a meeting of American folklorists where Arizona folklorist Jim Griffith began to develop the idea of a national gathering of cowboy poets. The first Cowboy Poets Gathering was held in 1985 in Elko, Nevada; more than 8,000 people now attend that event which produces a $5.5 million impact on the local economy each year. There are now more than 150 Cowboy Poets Gatherings around the U.S. The Douglasville celebration of cowboy life and culture is the 17th such annual gathering in Douglasville, Georgia sponsored by the Cultural Arts Council in partnership with the Douglas County Cowboy Poets, which is a satellite organization of the Arts Council.
Contact the Cultural Arts Council for further information, directions and to purchase tickets 770-949-2787.