Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan . The Everett's Music Barn, back left, established in 1964 fills with bluegrass music every Saturday night and is located in the historic Old Towne in Suwanee. The barn hosts professional acts and the home, right, served and serves as a place for people of all ages and talent levels to "pick" and play music together.
SUWANEE -- The first facelift in the 41-year history of Everett's Music Barn is nearly complete.
Workers from Castleworks Remodeling Inc. of Lawrenceville and Baker Audio of Buford have spent much of the last month replacing wooden support beams, gutters, drainage pipes and set up a nice audio/visual system that will help with overflow crowds.
The barn, a bluegrass music hidden gem, has been open since 1971, but much of the wood used was donated from a Norcross apartment complex. Tommy Everett, a longtime sound technician and curator at the barn, said he hopes to have painting and padded pews donated from a Lutheran church in Lilburn installed by mid-January. Everett said regular attendees have greeted the maintenance upgrade with open arms.
"They're just overwhelmed, and they're just like me, when the blessings shoot out you like this, there's just no way to explain it," Everett said.
Because the barn holds about 175 people, and nearly 500 show up on some Saturday nights, Everett said there will be a camera with a live feed of the stage shown on a 70-inch television in the house in front of the barn.
To pay for the upgrades, the barn has held two fundraisers, and solicited weekly donations. It's also received lump sum contributions, such as a $3,000 gift from a Buford dentist.
"We've never been about the money, and we're still not today," Everett said. "The building itself was built in '71 with old lumber at the time, so the building was tired. I want to keep it as authentic and original as I possibly can, and make it as stable as I can. I want it to be here a long time."
The usual Saturday night schedule also hasn't been interrupted, as the barn featured children singing Christmas carols this past Saturday.
The facelift includes replacing outside rotten wood, handicap ramps and fixing other safety issues. Everett said regular contributions, separate from fundraisers, can pay for painting and other small repairs.
"Let's do all we can this one year, this one time, let's get these major things out of the way," he said.
Keith Cuthbertson, vice president of Castleworks Remodeling, said his neighbor is one of the owners of the barn, and didn't know its history despite living in Gwinnett his whole life.
"It's really, really nice to be a part of keeping this place up and making sure it's going to be here for a long time," Cuthbertson said.