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GREENFIELD ENERGY: Sai Collins set to play the Greenfield Lake Garden Party in support of beautifying the lake and gardens

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Proceeds from the Greenfield Lake Garden Party will benefit the Greenfield Lake Collaborative Endowment Fund for upkeep of the Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden, as well as other economic and community development projects at Greenfield Lake.

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THE GARDEN PARTY HAS BEEN POSTPONED ‘TIL FURTHER NOTICE. Greenfield Lake Collaborative will make a formal announcement in the following week regarding the new date and event details. Details will be posted to website and social media profiles.

As the 2015 Riverfest quickly approaches, Greenfield Lake Collaborative (GLC) will celebrate its dedication to beautifying our Third Street park and lake with its annual garden party on Fri., Oct. 2, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. All ticket proceeds go to the GLC fund, which has several projects slated for completion in the coming year.

COLLABORATIVE SOUND: Sai Collins returns with Paleo Sun and Sunny C to play the Greenfield Lake Garden Party on Friday, Oct. 2. Courtesy photo.

COLLABORATIVE SOUND: Sai Collins returns with Paleo Sun and Sunny C to play the Greenfield Lake Garden Party on Friday, Oct. 2. Courtesy photo.

Preceding the forthcoming GLC Garden Party was the Greenfield Lake Mixer (held Wednesday, Sept. 16). Hundreds of people came out to the event, including the Port City Young Professionals networking group. In order to attract more support and awareness to all that the lake and amphitheater have to offer, GLC invited several of Wilmington’s favorite folk, rock and Americana bands to play. Paleo Sun, featuring Sai Collins, with percussionist Sunny C, were among performers. They will return to be the official band at the garden party on Friday.

“We had a nice mix of genres and had a lot of fun playing with the other bands [The Midatlantic, Stray Local and Randy McQuay] at the mixer party,” Collins tells encore. “The cool thing about it is really the community came together.”

Before moving to Charlotte, NC, Collins was a Wilmington citizen for years. He recognizes the value of the amphitheater attracting various performers and entertainment, but more so appreciates what Greenfield Lake offers Wilmingtonians as a whole.

“It’s just really nice to see what the collaborative has been doing,” Collins says. “And the [mixer] was a nice event that didn’t cost a lot for people to experience [the amphitheater].”

The garden party will be held nearby the amphitheater at the Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden, one of the ongoing project beneficiaries of GLC. Though garden parties typically equate pretty dresses and big hats, Collins predicts the fall version will be a perfect fit for Paleo Sun’s style.

“Sunny and I are pretty spontaneous and in the moment, but this is definitely more than just a T-shirt and jeans kind of thing,” Collins says with a laugh. “Paleo Sun is really more about a laid-back vibe that’s reminiscent of the Port City.”

Sunny C, or Sunny Cordilleras, is often found playing his drums for benefits across town, including the annual Bow Wow Luau and Cat’s Meow for homeless dogs and cats. He also practices Polynesian fire dancing. Though the latter won’t be in the cards for the garden party, Sunny and Sai share fiery love for the music onstage.

Aside from standard folk, rock and soul Collins offers audiences, he has a couple of new tunes he’s only released as music videos over the summer. “We decided to sample them before we go and record them,” he explains. “Anyone can find them on YouTube. And if anyone hasn’t heard any of our music, we’re on ReverbNation or iTunes.”

Collins has played alongside the likes of the John Butler Trio and Soldiers of Jah Army. His eclectic brand of urban pop-folk has been heard across the Port City and country, for that matter. Every venue welcomes and cultivates the energy of the live music and audiences in a different way. “Each place has its own kind of attitude,” he clarifies.

Collins not only has a personal interest in live music as a performer, he believes everyone should open themselves up to the newcomers, the up-and-comers or just the unknowns. “Watching people and getting to know how they become attracted to [or] discover a new group is exciting,” he continues. “I hope Wilmington continues to grow in that direction and gets to that point where people come out to support more live music [and] give it the energy it deserves.”

Greenfield Lake is the perfect stage for Paleo Sun’s often poetic music. Collins appreciates the surroundings and its natural beauty, too. “You can paddle up on a kayak and listen to music from the water, [and] I think that’s one of the things that Greenfield Lake Collaborative is focusing on: continuing to beautify the lake and attract more people to this natural gem in Wilmington,” Collins says.

The GLC continuously welcomes input from the public on how to better utilize the park and lake areas, as well as make it more accessible to locals and visitors. As a former resident who frequently returns, Collins sees the potential of Greenfield Lake beyond the amphitheater.

“They’ve talked about doing more events like 5Ks there, and I like biking events as well,” he notes. “Greenfield Lake kind of defines that area. A lot people are putting in a lot of effort into making it a greater community.”

The Greenfield Lake Garden Party will feature live music with Sai Collins and Paleo Sun, as well as host an open bourbon bar and food from Skylight Inn BBQ and Cheshire Pork from Heritage Farms. Its purpose of supporting the ongoing efforts to improve the area is what makes the event special.

“It’s the party not to miss this year,” Collins continues. “But it’s always neat to see contributions—whether it’s monetary funds, offering time or volunteering; it’s all a collaborative (no pun intended). It’s like any party or event, but with a bigger purpose.”

While  the open bar, sponsored by Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon, will serve wine, beer and soft drinks, it will also tout inspired cocktails. Herring’s “Greenfield Cocktail,” made with his small batch bourbon, will flow throughout the day for all who want to sing and sip along with Collins. Plus, three bartenders will be on hand to hold a mixoff for the Greenfield Cocktail (Kyle Krabtree, Pembroke’s; Joel Finsel, local mixologist and author of “Cocktails and Conversations from the Astral Plane”; and a bartender/representative for Anthony Caporale, media food and beverage expert, known for his web video series “Art of the Drink TV” and Broadway musical “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking”).

“I’m definitely a liquor guy, bourbons and whiskeys,” Collins states. “I’m looking forward to that. I think we perform progressively better through the night when we have it.”

Proceeds from the Greenfield Lake Garden Party will benefit the Greenfield Lake Collaborative Endowment Fund for upkeep of the Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden, as well as other economic and community development projects at Greenfield Lake. The garden party takes place Friday, October 2, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $55 and $60 at the gate. Additionally, donations can be made to the Greenfield Lake Collaborative on their website ( Folks interested in volunteering or sponsoring future projects, can contact the organization at

Paleo Sun w/ Sai Collins and Sunny C
Greenfield Lake Garden Party
Dr. Heber W. Johnson Rotary Garden
Friday, Oct. 2, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Tickets: $55 adv / $60 door

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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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