This Friday and Saturday, March 31st and April 1st, the third annual Drifter Fest: Bert Griggs Memorial Jam takes place at The Refinery’s outdoor amphitheater on upper Meeting Street in Charleston, SC. Hosted by Drifter Merch, the event honors the late Bert Griggs, co-founder of the company who passed away unexpectedly in December 2019.
The two-day event will feature live music performances from Tishamingo and Broken Speakers on Friday, and George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners, Gavin Hamilton & Friends (featuring Wallace Mullinax), and Just Groove on Saturday.
Single day General Admission tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Weekend pass is $35 in advance, $40 day of show. Available here.
Bert and Lorrie Griggs founded Drifter Merch together in 2016 as a way to make some money while catching their favorite bands on tour. The couple began by setting up a booth on lot at jam band concerts with custom-designed merchandise inspired by the scene.
Lorrie has continued the company in her husband’s absence, and says that Drifter Fest is a way for her to honor him and move forward. She continues to set up on lot at shows like Widespread Panic, Billy Strings, Bob Weir, & more, now even moreso than ever:
“I’m doing it more now, actually,” she explains. “We have a now-five-year-old, but when we really started doing the lot scene I was 9 months pregnant.”
Lorrie goes on to recall how she and Bert often went to shows with the merchandise in the car and the intention to set up and sell it, but often chose to meet up with friends and hang out instead. Then, one year they finally decided to set up on lot and had quite a bit of success, thus making Drifter more of a serious focus for them.
“My husband was a big Neil Young fan, and we just kind of looked through the Neil Young catalogue, and I was like it has to be something simple, something easy to remember. And so, ‘Drifter’ is a Neil Young song. So we just started doing ‘Drifter’ t-shirts that just said ‘Drifter’, and hats, and we found out people would stop by and like ‘I’m a drifter!'”
This led to the shirts becoming quite popular, as people drifting from town-to-town on tour could relate to the message on the shirt. Fisherman or boaters would also find something to relate with, and many more people.
Widespread Panic fans often think the song is a reference to a lyric from their 1993 song “Papa’s Home”, which goes “To the highway where some new cowboys go / Drivers and drifters and rogues.” However, as Lorrie explains, Neil Young’s 1986 song “Drifter” inspired the name.
Get tickets and more info about this weekend’s festival at drifterfest.com. See the live music schedule below.
Friday, March 31st
7pm – 8:15pm – Broken Speakers
8:30pm – 11pm – Tishamingo (reuniting for one night only)
Afterparty downtown at the newly-reopened (in a new location) Palace Hotel from 11pm to 1am.
Saturday, April 1st
6pm – 7pm – Just Groove
7:15pm – 8:30pm – Gavin Hamilton & Friends Featuring Wallace Mullinax
8:45pm – 9pm – Just Groove
9pm – 11pm – George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners
Afterparty downtown at The Commodore with Future Funk from 11pm to 1am.