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May Flowers, Guitar Power:

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Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
May 14,  noon • $12 adv/$15 day of

ZUKIMOON: A new local band headed by Audra Glyn Smith will play the first annual Mayfest, taking place this Saturday at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. Courtesy photo.

Bill Buchanan, the guitarist for local modern-rock band Zukimoon has many acquaintances throughout our thriving music scene. From playing with members of rockabilly group Phantom Playboys, to jamming with saxophonist Roy Harper of Soul Power Posse, he’s learned there’s a great amount of talent just waiting to be unleashed to the masses of Wilmington.

“I know a fair amount of musicians in town, and they’re under-recognized,” Buchanan says. “Plus, we have a talented group of artists. I really want to bring everyone together for an art and music showcase.”

His idea for the showcase known as “Mayfest” brewed for quite some time before it came to fruition. Only a month ago did he begin to develop and promote the inaugural festival—something he hopes will become an annual celebration of Wilmington’s fine arts and wonderful springtime weather.

“It would be nice to make Wilmington a destination for a big music and arts event in May,” he says. “There’s not much going on after Azalea Festival, and it’s a great time of year and an attractive place to visit. I hope Mayfest can grow enough to bring in big names while recognizing local people, too.”

Several bands are on the bill for the very first festival, including Zukimoon. Their female vocalist, Audra Glyn Smith, belts out covers of Grace Potter and the soulful Adele. The group has also been known to play Guns ‘n’ Roses and Journey, among other tunes from classic bands. The remaining lineup consists of the Phantom Playboys, which kick the concert off at 1 p.m. Following the intense, retro-rockers is Frank Bruno’s Stable Hands at 2:30 p.m. The Americana group toured with Bruce Springsteen throughout 2006.

Soul Power Posse takes the stage at 4 p.m. with Roy Harper, who used to play sax for the late, great James Brown. Add Zukimoon’s 5:30 p.m. performance, and the 7 p.m. show of reggae/beach band Bag of Toys, and Mayfest has quite the assortment of richly talented musicians. “I like all kinds of music,” Buchanan explains, “so I set it up for various genres.”

All five bands are playing basically for free, according to the festival organizer; Mayfest was designed to be a charity show, after all.  All proceeds will go to a different nonprofit each year. The 2011 selection is the Darrell/Hill Defense Fund—an organization suited to take on Titan America.

The ongoing, three-or-so-year battle with Titan, and its plans to build a cement plant along the banks of the Cape Fear River, has come to a head. In fact, Kayne Darrell and Dr. David Hill are taking the brunt of the blow from the multi-billion dollar international corporation. For voicing their opinions and raising awareness about the negative effects this plant will have on our community, just as many concerned citizens have, Titan is suing the medical professionals for $75,000 plus punitive damages.

“Over 200 doctors in our community have signed a petition objecting to the likely health effects of air pollution from a cement plant, and many of them have also spoken out publicly on this subject and continue to do so,” Dr. Hill explains. “I can only guess that by suing me, Titan America hopes to silence all of us. As a private citizen of limited means, I have to worry that defending the suit, even if it is baseless, can easily cost me many times my net worth. The suit has already taken time away from my [pediatric] practice [and] my family.”

Monies raised from Mayfest will help alleviate some of the financial burden the two citizens will face should the case reach court. “I personally know Hill and Kayne,” Buchanan says, “and they are only making people aware of the potential outcome of Titan. They are just caring citizens; it’s wrong for them to be sued. They were looking out for the community, so I feel they need help now.”

Dr. Hill voices gratitude for the assistance and encouragement he’s already received from his neighbors. “In the course of this struggle, I have come to appreciate as never before what a strong, supportive community I am fortunate enough to call home. I hope the concert gives everyone yet another chance to appreciate what a beautiful community we all share.”

Mayfest will be for everyone’s enjoyment. A kid’s area will be set up for the tots to play, and the City of Wilmington is providing food vendors, as will Domino’s pizza and Chick-fil-A. Beer will be supplied from R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Company.

“I really want to stress that this is a family event,” Buchanan assures. “I encourage everyone to come out and bring their kids. It should be a lot of fun as we showcase local talent. There’s truly something for everybody.”

Tickets are $12 in advance, available at Gravity Records or Doublewide Skate and Surf. The price goes up to $15 at the door, which opens at noon, but children 12 and under are free.

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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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