Integrity Hillbilly Campout

This was an awesome event ! We recieved an email/ invite a few weeks ago and were immediately intrigued. Having spent time getting to know a bit about Autmne (our most gracious and kind Hostess) and her business, INTEGRITY TATTOO (Tennessee), on facebook and through the HELLBILLY community, we actually could not wait to get to the festival site, deep in the Mountains and located in an ancient Native american community. I knew (Almost) exactly where this was because I frequently travel the main and backroads of that area on a very consistent basis and consider it some of the most beautiful and rugged terrain on earth. It is primal and remote; a PERFECT place to throwdown in an unfettered way. I had imagined all of this before the event, but was even more pleased with the way things went after I arrived. All of the magic I carried in my brain immediately became reality, but them I began to interact with the Family and Friends of our Hostess and things began to feel way better than I had imagined. These are genuine, deep, intelligent, and resourceful folks that reside on several hundred acres in what can only be described as a part of the Garden of Eden. I was first introduced (formally) to our Hostess and then her Father, the Patriarch of the family....Bill Joe ! Bill Joe is a facinating man with a wealth of Mountain Knowledge and experiences that I could just sit and listen to for hours. He is also a gracious and generous. These folks epitomize all that is best about Mountain People. There are all kinds of representations of the HillBilly out there and most focus on the crazy or silly aspects of the stereotype and completelly ignore the reality of what we know too well about RealBillies ! This bunch dispells the stereo type competely and set a picture that is "as it should be". They are firm minded, experienced in life and their surroundings and very creative and artistic.....and probably real scary if you crawl onto the wrong side of them. Attributes I raise a glass too, in total. After being there for about 30 minutes, I realized that there was an extreme possibilty that I would not be returning until the folowing day, so, as cell service is utterly non-existent for several miles, I asked to use a phone so I could alert Moe that I didn't want to come back! About 10 minutes and an incredible climb in a lift kitted four-wheel drive, sporting the INTEGRITY TATTOO logo across the windshield and driven to perfection by Autumne, we arrived at "The Cabin" and I was able to make contact with that evil outside world. :o) We then returned to the the festival site and the "Games Began" The bonfire was under construction, the covered stage area was set, the tables for the food were filling as time passed and more and more guests arrived, even the dogs were gettin' wild :o) After I ate, the first time, I found myself to be full as a tick and nearly ready nod off. This was soon cured by Kenny. Kenny is also one of the natives in the valley and resides on a large track of land that has some of the most rugged and stunning views and inclines that I've ever seen. It is the inclines that were of interest on our tour. We climbed aboard Kennys "Truck" (actually an all terrain vehicles the like of which I have never seen before) with it's 47 inch wheels and tires and an overall height of approximately 9 feet and away we went. As we begn to ascend the hillside on what appeared to be a road, I asked, "So, how did these roads get cut? They seem very steep." Kenny looked at me with a smile on his face, as we slowly moved forward up a 70+ degree incline and said " Ah, Log Skidders made these paths, but they couldn't get up and down the inclines anymore." For some reason, I guess because of his sheer will, patience, and confidence, I never got nervous. It was an experience I will never forget. The views were simply breath taking and replete with those gorgeous purple hues we are so blessed to witness in that failing light around here and of course, the sheer thrill of climbing something that no other vehicle could traverse was stellar ! We returned to the grounds once again, WIDE AWAKE and I could not resist the urge to eat again. The food was just so damned good that I could not stay away from it. Then, just after dark, the RAMBLIN' GAMBLERS set up on the side of the stage and began to put out some great music. Apologies on my lack of photography guys, but where Y'all were sitting, the light just didn't exist. We'll fix this with a nice spread from another photg that was using flash at the event. Shortly past that performance, a Van showed up and out poured JASON & THE PUNKNECKS, THE HILLBILLY HARLOTS, and SLIM CHANCE. All of these acts just kicked ass, as Bill Joe passed by in the background on his monster piece of heavy equipment with which he was dumping entire trees and hundreds of pounds of scrap wood, onto the "Bonfire" (More of a controlled forest fire that carried welcomed warmth for all.) I ate an additional 2 times at which point I had completely abandoned the idea that I might have a few too many drinks. There was simply no way I was gonna catch an alcohol buzz with that load of food on my gut :o) Imagine that, Skip went to a party and ATE too much ;o) We cannot thank Autumne and her Family and Friends enough for the hospitality. We really feel blessed to be in your company and hope to remain in such a state. Looking forward to the next one....FOR SURE !

 

 

 

 


 

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