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WELCH TO OUR EARS: Gillian Welch headlines Winoca Fest, August 27, at Battleship Park. More national acts coming soon. Tickets go on sale this Friday. Courtesy photo.

o, here is how last Thursday went: “Gillian’s coming to ILM???!” Mandy, my BFF, texted me.
“???” I responded and commenced into a massive Facebook stalk.

There it was, beside of Gillian Welch’s new album cover on the Winoca Records fan page: “Gillian Welch is confirmed to play WINOCA FEST 2011!!!!”

Immediately, I contacted Kevin Rhodes, a founder of Winoca, to get the skinny. Rhodes, who was on a trip back from Nashville, Tennessee, with his band, Onward, Soldiers, was kind enough to say it aloud: “Yes, it’s true. Gillian Welch isn’t easy to book, but we’ve been working with a friend of a friend, Kirk Peterson, who works with Boulder and Fox theaters out of Colorado, over the past few months. The timing couldn’t have been better either.”

Gillian Welch will be releasing her first album in seven years on June 28th, titled “The Harrow & The Harvest.” Listening parties are secured nationwide at record stores. As of press, our very own Gravity Records was trying to work out details on doing one (stay tuned for more information). Before Welch’s album is released, tickets to her debut Wilmington show will go on sale on June 17 at

The August 27 concert will include Welch and guitar master and sidekick David Rawlings, along with two other national acts to be announced in coming weeks. Local and regional bands will also take the stage, including Onward, Soldiers, Mandolin Orange, The Old Ceremony and Hammer No More the Fingers. The day-long event will be held on the greens of Battleship Park, a different locale from the record company’s Take the Lake Fest last year, held at Greenfield Amphitheater. The change will also allow a host of more fans to enjoy the event.

“Greenfield is a great venue,” Rhodes noted, “but it only seats 900; we’re expecting a lot more people for this event. They’ll be able to bring blankets and lawn chairs, and Gillian will end the day with the backdrop of the Cape Fear River overlooking downtown. It’s going to be amazing.”

Aside from Americana, bluegrass and folk rock sounding throughout our historic city, WinocaFest will appeal to all age groups, according to Rhodes. Plus, it will include bringing nonprofits and organizations together to showcase their services.

“We really want to create a celebration of all that is positive in Wilmington,” Rhodes said, “and we’re going to continue inviting many nonprofits and give them tent space to show the great things they’re doing for Wilmington and the world. We hope it helps motivate people to get involved. We’re using the festival as a way to unify the community, enjoy arts and culture, and showcase great national acts in our local area.”

WinocaFest will be donating a portion of their proceeds to a brand new 501c nonprofit, headed by Gay Adair, 1,000 People Who Care. The organization is working toward unification and mobilization of our community, with hopes to enhance downtown public areas, such as adding green spaces, parks, and working with downtown organizations and the city.

“Something good is happening in Wilmington,” Rhodes said, “and we want to link it together and help the city and the active environmental, business and social organizations. If they’re working on a park, and we can help with private funds or [offer] a way to get over the hump, then we will. . . . It’s easy to call out ideas of what we want, but 1,000 People Who Care wants to find ways to follow through on that.”

The website,, will be up and running soon. Rhodes also said he is currently looking for solutions to keep WinocaFest plastic-free; any environmental organizations or activists who can help can contact the record company through their website.

Tickets for the Gillian Welch show go on sale Friday, June 17, at encore is proud to be a media sponsor of this event. Stay tuned for updates as well as more coverage of 1,000 People Who Care.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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