Deep Winter Blues set for Hagood Mill Historic Site

Staff Report
Deep Winter Blues will be held at the Hagood Mill Historic Site on Feb. 18. - File photo | The Sentinel-Progress

PICKENS — Did you know Upcountry South Carolina was a historical mecca for the Blues?

Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s the streets of Laurens, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson counties reverberated with the music of bluesmen, street preachers and buskers all strolling enthusiastically with their tin cups extended.

Many of these musicians became famous on the streets of New York City during the folk revival of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

That tradition will be celebrated Feb. 18 at Hagood Mill.

This year’s lineup features two Folk Heritage Award winning bluesmen — Freddie Vanderford and Steve McGaha.

Together with accompanying musician Brandon Turner, the stage is likely to ignite, succumbing to the red hot tunes that are sure to abound.

Hear the old music that made Upcountry South Carolina a famous “roots environment” for the Piedmont Blues — some tunes primitive in nature and others coming from the sweet soul of the South Carolina bluesmen of long ago.

As a special treat Vanderford will be hosting a harmonica workshop immediately following his performance. Anyone interested in attending the workshop should bring along their favorite “harp” in the key of C.

Hagood Mill will also feature blacksmithing, bowl-digging, flint knapping, chair-caning, moonshining, broom-making, basket-making, pottery, quilting, spinning, knitting, weaving, woodcarving, metal-smithing, bee keeping, bobbin lace, leather-working and much more.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their favorite old time instruments and join in on the “open jam” that takes place throughout the day under the ancient cedar beside the 1791 log cabin.

The centerpiece of the Hagood Mill historic site is the water-powered 1845 gristmill, one of the finest examples of 19th century technology in the Upcountry. It operates just as it has for the last century-and-a-half. The mill will be running throughout the day.

In the old mill, fresh stone-ground corn meal, grits, and wheat flour will be available. In addition rye flour, Basmati rice flour, oat flour, oatmeal, popping corn meal, and grits, organic yellow corn meal and grits, and buckwheat flour are produced and may be available. Hagood Mill cookbooks and a variety of other mill related items are also available.

Admission to the event is free but parking is $5. All proceeds from parking help offset the costs at Hagood Mill.

The Hagood Mill Historic Site, located at 138 Hagood Mill Road, is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday all year long. The Mill operates, rain or shine, for a special festival the third Saturday of every month.

Call 864-898-2936 or visit for more information.

Deep Winter Blues will be held at the Hagood Mill Historic Site on Feb. 18. Winter Blues will be held at the Hagood Mill Historic Site on Feb. 18. File photo | The Sentinel-Progress

Staff Report