Featuring the mighty Tams, Johnny Rawls Blues Band, Rickey Godfrey Blues Band, the Castaways, Carolina Soul Band and the Fantastic Shakers; shag lessons from professional dancers Jerry & Barbara Wade; and spinning tunes between sets, deejays Gerry Scott, Betty Brown, Jim Bowers and Andy Todd.
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, a shag workshop and deejays. On Saturday, brush up on your shag dance footwork at a workshop with Jerry and Barbara Wade, 1 p.m.; Rickey Godfrey Blues 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 featuring Rickey Godfrey 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. 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.
“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.
“The Tams, of course, bring in the crowds, and one reason for that is Lil Redd Cottle, son of original member Charles Pope, and one of the most exciting performers I’ve ever seen.”
She continues, “I’m really excited about the whole line-up. We’ve got Bo Schronce’s Fantastic Shakers. Bo is about the best male vocalist in the business, as far as I’m concerned. I could listen to him all day. The Castaways band from North Carolina has been in beach music for over 50 years. The latest generation features Karen Clayton on lead vocals and she’s a dynamo!
“For a lot of folks, this will be their first time to experience Carolina Soul Band. These guys play your favorite soul songs and R&B hits. Performing as the backup band for Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters for a long time, now they carry on his legacy with pride. I’m thrilled to have them.”
For 2012, Grady is also infusing her festival with blues via performances by Nashville guitar legend Rickey Godfrey and Mississippi-born soul-blues master Johnny Rawls. “Rickey Godfrey is the real deal,” says Harriett. “I wanted to combine some blues this year so I am bringing on Rickey with his band and “Blues Godfather” Johnny Rawls. Johnny has a sound like no other I have ever heard. There is something magic about his guitar picking that I can distinguish from any other guitar sound … and his voice is smooth as silk, not to mention his sexy moves. Both of them are so unpretentious and put their souls into every song.”
Grady and her shag club, J.B. Pivots Beach Club, were recipients of a 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) and are featured in the CBMA Hall of Fame.
Festival sponsors include Strom Altman Suzuki of Charleston (http://www.stromaltmansuzuki.com); www.Charleston.com; Coast Magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine (www.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)(4) 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 www.bmspssc.com or www.pivotsbeachclub.com. Special Festival rates are available at the adjoining Embassy Suites. For more information, call 843-814-0101.
Websites for performers:
Johnny Rawls: www.johnnyrawlsblues.com
Fantastic Shakers: www.fantasticshakers.com
Carolina Soul Band: www.carolinasoulband.com