McIntosh County Shouters set to perform at the fairgrounds

Musical group is responsible for preservation of traditional ring shout

The McIntosh County Shouters, one of the last remaining groups to practice the traditional ring shout, is set to perform a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds, 5840 State Road 207, Elkton.


The Shouters have won numerous accolades over the years, including the title “Master Artist,” bestowed by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The event is part of the kick-off of the Gullah Geechee Bicycle Tour, which features seven days of bike rides, live music and food.


The ring shout has its origins in a dance form indigenous to Central and West Africa. During the dance, participants move in a counterclockwise circle and sing, oftentimes in a call-and-response manner. Rhythm is provided by clapping, stomping and improvised percussion.

The ring shout, as practiced by slaves in the U.S., was a religious activity, with Christianity replacing many of the traditional African religious messages and symbolism.


Located in the small communities of Bolden and Briar Patch, Georgia, the Mcintosh County Shouters have been credited with preserving the traditional ring shout in North America. The group continues to educate audiences around the world about this age-old tradition.

By the beginning of the 20th century, it was widely believed that the ring shout had ceased to exist in African-American communities throughout the South. It wasn’t until 1980 that folklorists discovered the ring shot was still being practiced in McIntosh County, Georgia.

One of these folklorists alerted the music world that even though churches had forsaken the practice, the McIntosh County Shouters were still teaching children about the ring shout. Once the word was out, people from around the world began flocking to Bolden and Briar Patch.

It came as a shock to historians and other academics that the McIntosh County Shouters continue a tradition that has been passed down for over 300 years. It was just as shocking to the residents of Bolden and Briar Patch to discover that the artform had died out in the rest of the country. In an attempt to ensure the longevity of the ring shout, the McIntosh County Shouters recorded its first album in 1984. The group has been recording and performing at festivals around the country ever since.


WHEN: Saturday, March 18 | 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The St. Johns County Fairgrounds | 5840 State Road 207, Elkton

ADMISSION: Free | Dinners can be purchased for $25 at the event