SALEMBURG — As a member of Swamp Mountain Boys, Britt Pridgen is looking forward to three days and three nights of picking and musicians bonding through bluegrass at it echoes throughout Salemburg.
The Fourth Annual Camp Out Jam Out (COJO), a free festival, is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 14, and will continue through Saturday, April 16, at the Laurel Lakes Family Campground, 1100 Laurel Lake Road, Salemburg. Presented by Jam Out Entertainment and hosted by Swamp Mountain Boys, the bluegrass showcase will take place on the main stage Friday and Saturday. Pridgen is looking forward to people attending the free festival with 12 bands ready to perform, starting Friday.
“It’s geared towards people who really enjoy playing bluegrass, but it’s also for people who just like to listen,” Pridgen said.
The opening day will serve as a day for everyone to get to know each other a little better.
“Thursday is mainly a day for everyone to socialize and get to know the different campers in the campground and play a little music with some of those folks,” Pridgen said. “It’s kind of a fellowship day.”
The music portion of the event will kick off with an open mic session from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday.
“We put them on stage and let them play,” Pridgen said about individuals or groups.
Next, the first slated band, Donna Spivey & Friends will be the first of five bands to perform from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday. Seven bands will play on Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m. All acts have one-hour sets.
The other scheduled performers during the weekend include Cumberland County Line, Telluride Bluegrass Band, Black River Pickers, Drifting River Bluegrass Band, Rockin’ Grass, Carolina Tradition, Lauren & Lane, Juniper Creek, Fountain Blue and South of K. The Swamp Mountain Boys are tentatively scheduled to fill a void from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the absence of a group that cancelled.
After the shows, COJO will give goers more opportunities to play music during the night.
“There will be folks picking in the campground,” Pridgen said. “You’ll have a bunch of them by someone’s campers with their instruments. Some of them play all night till daybreak.
“Sometimes they know each other and sometimes they don’t,” Pridgen said about how the genre brings people together.
Unlike other genres of music, Pridgen noted that bluegrass musicians, not matter how much fame they have, interact with audience members.
“They come out and greet the folks that come out and listen,” Pridgen said. “You can sit around and talk to those folks who just came off the stage.
“In most genres of music, the artist is gone and you don’t see them anymore,” he added. “They go back stage, get back on the bus and they’re gone.”
The bluegrass musician had an opportunity to play with artists on campgrounds. A few years ago, Pridgen spent time with Grammy nominee Rhonda Vincent, who was crowned as “The New Queen of Bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal.
In several days, Pridgen is looking forward to seeing camaraderie being shared at the event. It all began as a small pickin’ party after Pridgen and a few friends wanted to bring back an abandoned bluegrass festival operated by Red and Nancy Canady, who owned the campground area.
“Now a couple of hundred people with 40 or so RVs are sitting out in the campground and it became a festival,” he said about continuing the spirit of bluegrass.
The fourth annual event is being sponsored by Jam Out Entertainment and Laurel Lakes Family Campground where free and dry primitive camping, fishing lakes and bath houses will be offered. Open displays of alcohol will not be permitted in the stage area during the event.
Sandwich Mike’s out of Fayetteville will attend the event as a food vendor on Friday and Boy Scout Troop 41 are going to have a hot dog fundraiser.
Guests are welcomed to bring their RV to COJO for a fee. The cost for electricity is $20 a night and $35 night for full hook up.
For more information about COJO, call or text Pridgen at 910-620-1072. Inquiries for RV hooks ups should be made to Leon Griffin at 910-385-1178.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.