DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Chucktown’s Annual Beach Music & Shag Fest Set for August 25 & 26

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 9, 2012

The seventh annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival will be held on August 25 and 26 in the ballroom of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, which is connected to the Embassy Suites, organizer Harriett Grady has announced.

The two-day event will feature six powerhouse acts, shag workshop and deejays: on Saturday, brush up on your shagging at a workshop with Jerry and Barbara Wade, 1 p.m.; Rickey Godfrey Band at 3 p.m.; the Castaways at 5:30 p.m.; and Carolina Soul Band at 8 p.m. Deejay Gerry Scott will spin tunes for shaggers in between performances.

On Sunday, deejay Betty Brown begins at 1 p.m. and returns between acts. The Fantastic Shakers start at 2 p.m.; the Johnny Rawls Blues Band – with Rickey Godfrey sitting on guitar – takes the stage at 4 p.m.; and the mighty Tams close out the entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Betty Brown returns to the deejay booth at 7 p.m.

The Festival is being presented by The Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society of South Carolina (BMSPSSC) along with Big Mamma Entertainment of Charleston, S.C.

The mighty mighty Tams.

In a telephone interview, Grady said she formed the BMSPSSC back in 2006 at the urging of Diane Pope, manager of the original Joe Pope Tams and wife of original member Charles Pope. “She [Diane Pope] talked to me for several years asking me to have a beach festival in Charleston,” explains Grady. “She said there was not a beach music festival here and she thought there should be. She said she had been thinking about it over and over and she thought I should be the one to do it. So about that same time an investor came along and said every one in Charleston pointed at me to help get a Beach Festival going.

“Well, with two strong people coming at me I decided to try it. I coined the name Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival that first year and it stuck. That was in 2006 and I have continued every year on my own having the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival. The Joe Pope Tams have been in all but one of them.”

Festival sponsors include Strom Altman Suzuki of Charleston; Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine (myrtlebeachalternatives.com) of Myrtle Beach; music blog DarielB-Flying Under the Radar (darielb.wordpress.com). According to Grady, she is still seeking and accepting sponsors for the event.

BMSPSSC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote, preserve and perpetuate the S.C. state dance, the shag, and South Carolina’s most popular music, beach music. Festival tickets are $20 per day for BMSPSSC members and $25 for nonmembers. Two-day tickets are $35/members and $45/nonmembers. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.bmspssc.com or http://www.pivotsbeachclub.com. Special Festival rates are available at the adjoining Embassy Suites. For more information, call 843-814-0101.

Sunday at the Charleston Beach Music Festival

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on September 9, 2008

For beach music fans, last weekend’s Charleston Beach Music Festival (Aug. 21 – 24, 2008) was the place to be. I couldn’t be there for all four days, but I made it down to Chuck Town for Sunday, Aug. 24 and it was a blast! Hats off to Harriett Grady-Thomas, festival organizer and owner of J.B. Pivots for pulling together a terrific festival.

This is the third year of the beach music bash, which moved to the Citadel Alumni House, and what a great venue. We were out of the rain and into the air conditioning!

Holiday Band kicked off at noon. This is such a great, high-energy live group. Wearing wireless mics, at least one of them is usually out line dancing or shagging with the crowd. As for vocals, Duane Neese had more than enough motor under the hood for this audience of shaggers and music lovers. By the way, Bob Martin from California is the new guy playing saxophone.

Next up was Sea-Cruz. This triple threat can stand head to head with any of the big boys. And I’ve still got goosebumps from Butch Barnes’ amazing falsetto.

Singer/songwriter Rick Strickland was a wonderful treat for me. I hardly ever get to see him play live. He performed quite a bit from his new Island Soul CD, and, of course, couldn’t get off the stage without doing “Something Smooth.”

Johnny Rawls Blues Band had the 4:30 slot. If you’re into bluesy, soul-filled vocals and a sultry delivery, Johnny Rawls is your man. (Last winter, during the Lowcountry Blues Bash, Johnny told me he loved my red shoes, and I’ve been smitten ever since).

Many in the crowd had never seen him before, and they went wild! This time, Johnny’s daughter, Destini Rawls, performed with him. When she eased into “I’d Rather Be Blind,” the heart-wrenching, show-stopping Etta James standard, people stopped everything to listen. Playing keyboard with the band was none other than Easley, South Carolina’s Bobby Simmons, who did a fine, fine job.

I think it would be awfully tough to follow Johnny Rawls, but I doubt that even occurred to Jim Quick & Coastline. They hit the stage running and didn’t stop for the next hour. I love these boys!

Closing out the show was the inimitable Bo Shronce and his Fantastic Shakers.