When Bill Fleming and his wife, Jacquelyn Howard, built their off-grid house in Appalachian north Georgia, they learned two things. First, the high interest many rural residents shared in living off the grid wasn’t matched by the available technology in the region; second, no one gets off the grid alone. “Getting off the grid is a community effort,” he says.
With the launch of the three-day Get Off the Grid Fest in August 2017 – coinciding with a total solar eclipse – in Blairsville, Ga., Fleming sought to foster that community by linking people with off-grid interest to people with know-how. The second biennial GOTG Fest, Aug. 9-11, moves northeast to Warren Wilson College’s 16-acre Big Berea Pasture.
Panel discussions, presentations and workshops will explore not only the energy aspects of off-grid living, but also independence in food and health. In addition, three stages will spotlight an eclectic lineup of performers such as Rising Appalachia, Strung Like a Horse and Sol Driven Train.
“Culture is the closest to my heart,” says Fleming, who plays steel guitar. “The best way to build the culture of a community is through music and dance, and we have an incredibly strong line-up. It’s an empowering and joyful event.”
Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.