Self Reliance Festival – Event in Camden, Tennessee



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Thunder Hill Farms

Kiri Torgler

Science and Art of De-escalation

Sonny Puzikas

The Workshop

Toolman Tim Cook


Nicole Sauce

Kicking Butt and Taking Names

Amanda Willis

LOCATION: 4631 Highway 70 E, Camden, TN 38320


Join us for presentations, demonstrations, vendor exhibits, community, and music!

The Self-Reliance Festival at Special Operations Equipment gives you a close-up view of both strategic and tactical skills. Thoroughly practical demonstrations include emergency medical training, defense dogs, blacksmithing, weaving, food preservation, self defense, music, aquaponics, and permaculture design.


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Signature Solar

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Holler Roast Coffee

Holler Roast Coffee provides much of the event management for Self-Reliance Festival and runs a couple of giant urns of brew.

Special Operations Equipment

SOE hosts Self-Reliance Festival in and around their factory.

Living Free in Tennessee

The podcast that entertains, educates, and empowers you to live the life you choose.

Bearings, Belts & Chain, Inc.

Premier resource for ball bearing and power transmission parts for more than 20 years.




Tickets for April are refundable through Feb 1, 2024 minus processing fees. October tickets are refundable through August 1, minus processing fees.

Self-Reliance Festival
at Special Operations Equipment
4631 Highway 70 E
Camden, TN 38320

FREE! Camp overnight at Special Operations Equipment. There’s a composting toilet, water, and a handwashing station.

You may arrive and set up camp on Friday after 3 pm.

Please be entirely off the SOE property by 6pm Sunday.

Lodging closest to SOE property

New Johnsonville
5 minutes away

New Johnsonville Harbor Campground
130 Harbor Cir, New Johnsonville, TN 37134
(615) 319-4433
no website

Deerfield Inn (*closest hotel to SOE property*)
1331 Broadway Ave, New Johnsonville, TN 37134
(931) 535-3889
no website

under 5 miles / 10 minutes

Best Western Home Place Inn
 Nicest hotel in the area

Country Hearth Inn and Suites

Birdsong Road area
5 miles / 10 minutes

Cedar Ridge RV Park
3400 Birdsong Rd
Camden, TN 38320
Close to SOE

Birdsong Resort | Marina | Campground
255 Marina Road
Camden Kentucky Lake, Tennessee 38320-9699
(731) 584-7880
Close to SOE

20 minutes plus from SOE

Most affordable
34 miles / 40 minutes from SOE

Pike’s Peak Campground
127 Perryville Rd, Parsons, TN 38363
(731) 249-0029

15 miles / 20 minutes from SOE


Imperial Lodge
504 W Main St #1407, Waverly, TN 37185
(813) 304-5113
no website

15 miles / 20 minutes from SOE

Days Inn by Wyndham, Holladay
13845 Hwy 641 N, Holladay, TN 38341
(731) 483-2068

27 miles / 35 minutes west of SOE

The Heritage Inn
11790 Lexington St, Huntingdon, TN

28+ miles / 36+ minutes north of SOE
farthest, but largest city in the immediate area

Paris Landing RV Park
35 Point Pleasant Road, Buchanan, Tennessee
Larry Richardson: 731.363.3020
Faye Richardson: 731.363.3019
a KOA facility?

Paris, TN

Super 8 by Wyndham Paris
1309 E Wood St, Paris, TN 38242

Paris Inn & Suites
1297 E Wood St, Paris, TN 38242

Quality Inn
1510 E Wood St, Paris, TN 38242

Knights Inn Paris
409 Tyson Ave, Paris, TN 38242

Other links

RV, camping, and camping cabin parks in the area

Hotels and motels near Camden, Tennessee

Vacation property rentals




No. Please see “Lodging” for a list of campgrounds in the FAQ.

We have GREAT food vendors on site and the gas station at our entrance serves pretty good fare.


Groceries, Food, Supplies

The Willises have dogs trained to defend against other dogs and cannot ensure the safety of your canines. Certified service dogs only are allowed, but respect the Willises wishes and do not bring them close to the area where the defense dogs are kept. The dogs can and will jump the fence to attack other dogs.

There is no discount for youngsters.

Children who behave as adults are welcome. If children become unruly – or if adults act like unruly children – they will be ejected from the event.

Food and some beverages will be available for purchase. Water is in the orange and white Gatorade urns.

We will serve Holler Roast Coffee – for a freewill donation.

A Note:

Organizers seek food, drink, and snack vendors. What about you: do you make yummy things?

Please sign up to sell food at Self-Reliance Festival by completing the Vendor application. At least one of your tickets will be complimentary, and you’ll make a few bucks.

For questions, email Mama Sauce:

This is Self-Reliance Festival: when you come, please be equipped to take care of yourself.

The event is held just outside a small rural town. Everything takes place in and around a sewing factory. We can’t entirely take over this production facility, so we fit in among the trappings of doing business and the memorable Willis Collection of Wonderful Items.

While we rent some chairs, bring your own chair if you can, water bottles, clothing for Tennessee and the season, and all the things you need for comfort. Example: Mama Sauce needs a knitting project in order to listen carefully to a speech.

Some attendees have found cellphone service spotty; others have no problem at all. There is no internet onsite unless you are a vendor. We will try to set up a device charging station.

Attendee toilet facilities are outdoors in the form of porta-johns. Please do not ask to and do not use the factory workers’ rest rooms.

The same is true of the kitchen. In order to feed 300 – 600 people, every attendee must stay out of the kitchen, the areas in front of it, and the restrooms – even those visitors accustomed to using these areas. If you want to cook or chill something, bring a stove and cooler.

All participant parking is at Big Daddy convenience store.

Place your parking pass on the dashboard. It’s good Saturday and Sunday.

Please leave valuables at home.

Vendor setup hours

  • Friday, April 5, 5-7 pm
  • Saturday, April 6, 7-8 am

If we can open sooner on Friday, we will — and we will know this closer to the event.

When you arrive during setup hours, check in with Jennifer Bowman, the vendor manager, at the information booth. Please don’t ask to set up outside setup hours. We hate to say it, but the answer is “Sorry, no.”

Bring everything you need:

  • shelter
  • tables
  • chairs
  • SOE has a finite number of electrical outlets. Extension cords must be heavy-duty.
  • paper towels
  • tape
  • buckets if you need a water supply
  • There is a Walmart about 15 minutes away.
  • Internet will be provided by Radio Made Easy.

Vendors may drive to building to offload and onload. Please plan to drop off your gear, then go park at Big Daddy’s.

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