Doug Talley wants to give Brown County’s music scene something a little different.

Talley, founder of the GnawBrew Festival, is leasing the Red Barn Jamboree, and with a little help from his friends, he’s rehabilitated the long-vacant venue.

During opening weekend Aug. 4 to 6 — featuring Hammer and the Hatchet, Empty Glass Profits and the Way Down Wanderers — Talley was pleased with the turnout.

He hosted one other music event there July 1, but that event was free.

The small, intimate concerts are $10 per person, and another $10 for those who wish to camp onsite for the night, Talley said. He wasn’t sure if he would see as much of a crowd for the paying event as he did for the free one.

But Brown County did not disappoint. With just over 100 seats, the venue was a little more than half-full, even with little marketing.

Thinking small

There is no cellphone reception inside the Red Barn. The classic folding wood seats and benches all face one direction: the stage.The audience sits close enough to the stage they can talk to the musicians without yelling.

And that’s the way Talley likes it.

Most musical performances around Brown County take place in bars or restaurants, Talley said. There is noise to distract, and most of the seats face away from the artist.

When the lights go down inside the Red Barn, there is very little to separate the audience from the music.

And local musicians who have tried out the venue like the feel, Talley said.

“I think when people see the bands that they like in our environment, they’ll understand,” Talley said.

He also expects that people will appreciate that half of all proceeds are split with the performers.

While taking on the Red Barn is a carefully considered business decision, it’s also a personal one, Talley said.

“I just wanted my little girl to grow up in a Nashville that still is connected to some of this old stuff,” he said.

“Are we going to go to where everything is Starbucks, or are we going to try to hold onto the roots of Nashville? I’m throwing my hat in on Nashville’s roots.”


In addition to promoting bands and running an art, beer and music festival, Talley makes smoked foods. He has parked his food truck — a small white trailer — on the property, and set up a smoker nearby.

Yet, it’s not just pulled pork coupled with his signature coleslaw that Talley plans to bring to the location.

He also wants to get a farmers market going on Sundays there, and possibly food truck events where multiple vendors sell their wares.

“I’ve got lots of food vendors that I utilize for the GnawBrew event, and they’re just really, really good. They’re phenomenal,” he said.

Elbow grease

The rebirth of the Red Barn Jamboree would not have been possible without Talley’s friends and family, he said.

The venue had set empty through two floods, including last summer’s flood that left thick layers of silt and reached about four feet high in nearby businesses.

For three weeks, they put in 12- and 15-hour days cleaning and rehabilitating, Talley said. Even when the silt was out, musty aromas still permeated the building.

Yet, with enough bleach and hard work, Talley and his cohorts were able to have the building ready and open July 1.

Dealing with flood damage is simply going to be a reality of the location, Talley said. In setting up the new sound system and replacing everything from refrigeration to wiring, they have taken that into account.

“We’re keeping everything up off the ground and trying to mitigate what we can, because it’s going to happen again,” he said.

“We’re not going to try to fight nature.”

The Red Barn Jamboree

Where: 71 Parkview Road, Nashville.

Hours: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.

More information:

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.