Houston & Peach

Rural rock festival features '70s Capricorn band reunion

Hayneville JamFest band jokes around for 2018 promo

Stillwater, Wet Willie, the Jack Pearson Band and the Eli Carlan Band performed at the 2018 Hayneville JamFest set in Houston County. The 2019 event will be April 27.
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Stillwater, Wet Willie, the Jack Pearson Band and the Eli Carlan Band performed at the 2018 Hayneville JamFest set in Houston County. The 2019 event will be April 27.

Stillwater, a Middle Georgia band that became part of the Southern rock scene in the 1970s, is reuniting Saturday.

The band is one of four acts set to appear at the Hayneville Jamfest in Houston County. The concert, in its third year and held on a farm, benefits the Museum of Aviation.

Three other groups appearing Saturday are also well-known. Those are Wet Willie, the Jack Pearson Band and the Eli Carlan Band. Wet Willie had a top 10 hit in 1974, "Keep on Smilin'," and the Eli Carlan Band features former Houston County school Superintendent Robin Hines on the guitar. Hines is now director of the Georgia High School Association.

Jack Pearson is a highly regarded guitarist who has played for the Allman Brothers, and he is a hero to every guitarist on a budget. While many professionals play guitars that cost thousands of dollars, Pearson is known for playing a Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster, a beginner guitar that sells for around $120.

Stillwater was active from 1973 to 1984 under Capricorn Studios in Macon, producing two albums. The first, featuring the band's best-known tune, "Mind Bender," reached No. 46 on the Billboard Top 100. Mike Causey, guitarist for Stillwater, is among a few remaining members of the band who still live in Middle Georgia and occasionally perform as "The Has Beens." Others live elsewhere, so Causey said it's rare that they all get together as Stillwater.

"It's enjoyable," Causey said of the group getting back together. "It's hard to believe it was all those years ago."

Wet Willie was also a Capricorn band and still performs regularly.

Jim Taylor, who is helping promote the festival, said about 500 people came last year, and they hope to double that this year. The festival raised $40,000 for the museum.

Tickets are $45 and are sold only in advance either online at www.museumofaviation.org or at the museum gift shop. Children under 10 get in free.

The event is located at Kingsland Farm at 153 Kingsland Road in Haynesville. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the music starts at 5 p.m., running until 11 p.m. Food trucks will be there.

The community on U.S. 341 south of Perry is officially called Haynesville. The county added the "s" in 2002 at the request of residents who believed that to be the correct name. However, many still call it Hayneville, and the festival uses that name.

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