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Smoke on the Water Music & BBQ Festival

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Smoke on the Water is set to return to Bickley’s Lake in Thomaston, Ga. April 1-2.  BBQ enthusiasts and music lovers are guaranteed to leave with a smile as this year is lining up to be the biggest and best to date. This year marks the ninth annual event.

Started by a group of friends as a way to give back to their community, the cook-off and musical festival has become a mainstream event for their hometown.  Over 60 cooking teams participated in the 2015 cooking competition and more than 4,000 people attended the weekend event.

Since its inception in 2007 SOTW has given back over $120,000 to the Upson County Volunteer Fire Departments as part of a ‘thank you’ to the community.

“This is contributed to the great community of Upson County,” said SOTW Co-Founder Bobby Bickley.  “Without the support that we have had from the business owners, individuals, and volunteers in our community, this would not be possible. The VFD’s are a deserving choice as they risk their lives day in and day out for the citizens of our community.”

The two day event will feature some of the best BBQ in the Southeast.  As in the year’s past, SOTW is a Florida Barbecue Association (FBA) sanctioned event.  This year it is also a qualifier for the Jack Daniels American Royal Invitational. Over $13,000 in prizes are up for grabs in this year’s BBQ competition.

SOTW has been named one of the top 10 best BBQ festivals in the state of Georgia, and leading up to the event, it will be featured on a national syndicated radio show, “The Big Show” with John Boy and Billy.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that all of our hard work that we have put into our festival is being recognized as one of the best in the state,” said Bickley.

Teams entered into the BBQ competition will be competing in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.  A John Boy and Billy’s Grillin’ Sauce competition will take place on Friday night, and back by popular demand will be the People’s Choice Award for pulled pork.  Cooking team applications are available online at www.sotwfestival.com.  Cooking teams will be selling their product along with a multitude of other unique arts and crafts vendors.

Each year the music at SOTW gets better and better, and this year features a great line up and headliners.  This year’s headliners feature acclaimed musicians The Kentucky Headhunters, The Lacs and Sammy Kershaw.

Grammy-winning Southern blues rockers The Kentucky Headhunters will hit the stage Friday night at SOTW.  The band is touring in support of their new album release, Meet Me in Bluesland.

The Lacs and legendary county singer Sammy Kershaw will co-headline Saturday night’s lineup.  More than 25 of Kershaw’s singles have entered Top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Also scheduled to perform will be Tyler Hammond, Luke Combs, The Radio Birds, Jon Langston, Kyle Wilson, Royal Johnson, Aces & Eights, Common Rival, Soul Kitchen and Due South.

Single day passes are $35 and weekend passes are $50 at the gate. Children under 12 years of age get in free.  Stay the weekend and rent a camper spot for $50.  Tent camping is just $10 per person.  Gates will be open from noon until 11 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.sotwtickets.eventbrite.com.  Chairs and blankets are welcome.  Coolers will not be allowed inside the concert venue.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

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