SPRING LAKE — Organizers of the Broken String Fling music gathering like to describe it quite simply as a "loosely knitted, duct-taped-together, no-armband music fling."
For that reason, there's virtually no pretense to the annual event, which celebrates "peace through music" while raising a few bucks for the nonprofit Sertoma Youth Ranch, where it is held.
The festival, which takes place this weekend, is the brainchild of Tampa musicians Bobbie Dusenberry and Bill Fawcett, who organized the first event seven years ago simply as a camp-in for friends. A few dozen folks joined them for a weekend of peaceful camaraderie, Dusenberry recalled.
"We asked everyone to bring instruments and something for a potluck dinner — that's about it," said Dusenberry, who serves as treasurer for the ranch. "We passed the hat and got enough donations to not only pay the rental fee, but some extra to give as a donation."
Since then, the event has grown, primarily through word of mouth and a Facebook page that Dusenberry maintains. Despite not having a big-name talent lineup — musicians who perform do so for free — the gathering manages to attract a couple hundred people.
But the event isn't all about play, Dusenberry said. Many of those who attend also join in for an organized work day devoted to maintenance and repair of restrooms and other facilities on the 88-acre property.
"Not everyone who attends the big festivals realizes that the Sertoma Youth Ranch has been around since the 1970s and is run entirely by volunteers," she said. "We felt that the fling was a good way to attract people who are willing to devote a few hours to helping keep the place up."
This weekend's event, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, will continue through Sunday. Scheduled acts include Rebekah Pulley & Rob, Sunset Bridge, Fresh Franks, Between Bluffs, Hudson Creek, the Crackerbilly Band, Hanna's Whirl, the John Clark Band and others. Performances will take place at the Soggy Bottom Pavilion.
Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.