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Festival rocks Dawsonville
Crowds relive glam of the 80s
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Glam rockers and tribute artists Red, White and Crue entertain the crowds at Rockin it in the Sticks on Saturday in downtown Dawsonville. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

There was a sea of neon, spandex and teased hair as the decade of glam rocked Dawsonville last weekend.

"I just love 1980s hairband metal. I'm reliving my youth," said Laurie Chastain of Canton. "I love it. I'm having so much fun."

A self-proclaimed "bona fide '80s rocker," Chastain was among thousands of music fans in town Friday and Saturday for Rockin' it in the Sticks, one of the biggest '80s metal tribute festivals in the Southeast, in downtown Dawsonville.

Wendy Barnard and husband Kevin planned their wedding anniversary celebration around the festival.

"There's nothing like this around. This is a great music festival with fantastic bands for a great cause. It's just phenomenal, a win-win situation for everybody," she said.

A portion of the proceeds benefit Livi's Wish, a local foundation set up in honor of Olivia Graham of Dawsonville, who was diagnosed with leukemia and wants to share with the world what it is like to battle pediatric cancer.

With Bon Jovi, Journey, ZZ Top, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Motley Crue and Poison tribute bands playing crowd favorites, Rex Grimes of Monroe described the two-day festival as the "next best thing to seeing them live."

"I love all the metal from the '80s. Music like this is just not around today like it once was," he said.

He and friend Ken Wyman of Alpharetta started listening to the music as teens and continue to follow the rockers of their youth.

"It was during my formidable years and my first real exposure to rock ‘n' roll, so because of that I've always enjoyed it," Wyman said.

Lourette McPherson of Dawsonville also had a great time and welcomed the festival.

"I think this is awesome," she said. "It's good for the young people, good for the old people. It's good for everybody. It's generating money for our county. It builds our town up. It brings the community together."

She and sister Annette Williams Wastman, who drove up from Macon for the concert, posed for keepsake pictures with the bands.

"We're having a ball. It's been wonderful," McPherson said.

Scott Seville, lead singer for Red, White and Crue, said the bands were impressed by Dawsonville's hospitality.

"It's very impressive. It can't be any more fun. The people are fun. People are nice and we're all here rocking and rolling in the sticks," he said.