47th National Hollerin Contest held in Sampson County

SPIVEY’S CORNER, NC (WNCN) — A country tradition took place Saturday in Sampson County where they held the annual national hollering contest..


These days the event in Spivey’s Corner is used as a fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department — but its roots go back generations.

Before texting, before telephones, before radio and electricity people needed to communicate in the rural areas from home to fields and all around.

That’s where “Hollering” developed.

There was everything from distress calls, to calls that let folks know you awake for the day and calls that would announce social events like dances or corn shucking.

“Everyone who was working in this area of the country back then communicated by long distances using hollering,” explained Arron Bruce Jackson who is chairman of the fundraising committee for the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department

The National Hollerin’ Contest was first held in 1969 and includes categories for kids, teen and adults.

The contest, was inaugurated to revive the almost-lost art of “hollerin'”, a sophisticated vocal tradition.

Because each person’s “holler” was unique, listeners could usually could figure out who was doing the calling as well as what they were trying to convey.

Hollering worked better than shouting words because words could get distorted by distance but the “sound” of the holler usually didn’t get distorted enough to garble the message.

In recent years the hollering festival has also come to include other lost or dying rural arts like creating tar from Pine Pitch, Quilt Making and other farm activities.

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