“This is about keeping the memory of Joyce and Dot alive, for their legacy,” Cadle says in a phone interview while traveling through Wisconsin on her way to the Swiftwaters campground in Dahlonega.
Cadle, who lives in Washington, continues to organize the annual Women’s Music in the Mountains Festival because of her devotion to the memory of Joyce Tree.
“Joyce was my biggest fan. This is a celebration and a remembrance,” Cadle says.
It was in early 2000 when Cadle, who lived in Georgia, was seeking sponsors for a music tour. Tree gave a mutual friend $25 in cash and asked the friend to give the money to Cadle.
“That money allowed me to buy flyers. It was the only cash donation I got. Everything else was coming out of my own pocket,” Cadle remembered.
So in 2003, Cadle traveled to Swiftwaters for the first time to meet the woman who helped her career.
“I asked, ‘What can we do for you?’ And that’s how the music festival was started,” she says.
Young women may not understand the struggle the lesbian founders of Swiftwaters went through to create the campground, Cadle says, and the music fest is one way to bring different generations together.
“It’s a way to bring younger people and older people together and understand each other better,” she says.
But the most important part of the festival is simple — have a good time while listening to good music.
“It’s springtime and it’s beautiful in Georgia. This is the best time to be there,” Cadle says.
Swiftwaters is located at 830 Swiftwaters Road, Dahlonega, GA 30533. Call 888-808-5021 for more information.
The full schedule for the weekend as shown on the event’s Facebook page:
Friday April 29
7-7:45 p.m. – Sue Wilkinson 8-8:45 p.m. – Diana Skyeyes 9-9:45 p.m. – Glitter Biscuits 10-10:45 p.m. – Opposite Life
11-11:45 a.m.- Ronnda Cadle 12-12:45 p.m. – Marie Reid 1-1:45 p.m. – Etta Lea 2-2:45 p.m. – Lives of The Monster Dogs 3-3:45 p.m. – Trina Meade and Flower Martin
Cost for the festival:
Friday – Sunday: $65 per woman for two nights camping and all music . One night of camping Friday or Saturday: $45 (includes Saturday all day and either Friday or Sunday program). Day pass Saturday: $25 per woman. Day pass Friday night or Sunday: music only $10. Day pass holders may stay one hour past close of evening program.
Top photo: Ronnda Cadle of Washington and formerly of Georgia organizes the annual Swiftwaters Women’s Music in the Mountains. The fest takes place this weekend in North Georgia, Friday through Sunday, with more than 20 performers. (by Indy Behrendt)