Sol Slam: Music festival moving to the mountains for Labor Day weekend

Jessica Fuller • Aug 27, 2018 at 3:45 AM

Sol Slam Jam is packing up to move from the oceanside to the mountains of Erwin to celebrate their ninth annual music festival. 

Headed by roots-rock band Sol Driven Train, Sol Slam Mountain Jam will kick off Friday at 3 p.m. at USA Raft, 2 Jones Branch Road, in Erwin and run through the weekend, corralling the banks of the Nolichucky River. Joel Timmons, a member of Sol Driven Train, said there were a lot of reasons he and other festival organizers wanted to pick up and move to the mountains, but the biggest reason was to fill an important element they felt had been missing from the festival when it was held in Charleston, South Carolina. 

“The main component that we felt we were missing having the festival in Charleston was the camping aspect,” Timmons said. “It never really quite felt like a festival.” 

Timmons said that Sol Driven Train has played in the northeast Tennessee and western North Carolina region for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the band played at Mountain River Guides’ grand opening a year ago that the band and festival organizers decided that USA Raft was the perfect place to move the festival. 

USA Raft owner Matt Moses has worked with the band to secure the location on the company’s property and lining up the festival’s weekend with bands like Empire Strikes Brass, Yarn and Terraphonics. 

Sol Slam Mountain Jam weekend band schedule
Friday Saturday Sunday
7 p.m. Lovers Leap 3 p.m. Terraphonics noon Sol Driven Train Kids Show
9 p.m. Empire Strikes Brass 5 p.m. Josh Roberts and the Hinges 2 p.m. Jeff Sipe’s Slam Shine
11 p.m. Drum Circle 7 p.m. Sol Driven Train 4 p.m. Sol Driven Train
9 p.m. Yarn

Moses and Timmons said that the music starts later in the afternoon each day to give festival-goers an opportunity to check out the area or take advantage of one of USA Raft’s specials for the weekend. Moses said the cabins on his property began filling up earlier this year from people who have attended the festival in Charleston for years, so the festival will also introduce the area to people who have never been here before. 

“We want to encourage people to get out and explore the area, so this is just another great event that helps highlight what we’ve got here,” Moses said. 

“Already just with the interest that we’ve gotten both from bands and patrons, I have really good feeling about continuing the festival (in Erwin),” Timmons said.

In addition to a weekend of music in adventure, the festival will have local vendors on hand for the weekend. Campers may check in beginning Friday at noon, and check out is Monday at 11 a.m. A weekend pass for the festival is $75, day passes are $40, and separate camping passes are $25 per person. Buy tickets online at usaraftonline.adventures.com or at the event’s box office. 

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