Awendaw Green is officially on the map. What began last spring as a series of casual backyard jam sessions at music enthusiast Eddie White's family home in Awendaw accelerated into a well-organized, two-day fest of music and community.
Things took shape quickly and thoroughly. White and co-organizers Rob Lamble, Dan Henderson, and T.J. Phillips were able to book four dozen acts, make elaborate production arrangements, pull numerous volunteers, and entertain hundreds of local and visiting music fans with barely a minor blunder.
Early in the afternoon on Saturday, a diverse crowd of over a hundred — scenesters, parents and their young kids — were already strolling the grounds, catching acoustic acts, percussion ensembles, and full-sized rock bands. On the "Porch Stage," situated in the front yard of the White's home, singer/guitarist Joal Rush impressed the crowd with his guitar looping tricks and powerful voice. Later in the evening, Dave Dunning shared the stage with Larry Strickland through a set of originals. At the main stage, a full P.A., backline, and lighting rig was set up for each band. Highlights of the evening included the newly formed quartet Zero to Never, fronted by singer/bassist Jeff Califiore; the skillful Americana/pop band White Rhino, led by singer Aaron Levy, with guest pedal steel player Charlie Thompson; and grungy power-trio Torture Town, the new original rock project led by singer/guitarist Doug Walters. Things went smoothly — even when the county sheriff showed up during Jeff Norwood's late-night "power blues jam" to request an end to the amplified music.
Co-headliners Jay Clifford, Owen Beverly, Leslie, Sol Driven Train, and Zach Deputy drew an even larger audience for Day Two. There was plenty of collaboration going on: Deputy jammed with the three guys from Leslie through a few numbers, as did the horn-playing members of The Whisperjets. The late-night session found members of Columbia band Woodwork Roadshow trading licks with Deputy as well. (www.awendawgreen.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann