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Sounds of the Red, White and Blue:

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Americana Music Festival
Bald Head Island
5/27-29 • $10, Saturday, 5/28

BIG AL’S BIG SONGS: Don’t miss the Americana sounds of Big Al Hall, who plays the Americana Music Festival on Bald Head Island this weekend. He’ll also play an Old Crow Medicine Show after-party with Possim Creek at The Whiskey, downtown Wilmington, on Wednesday night, 10 p.m. Photo by Harry Taylor.

With a long list of musicians and activities on tap, the Bald Head Island’s first annual Americana Music Festival will get underway this Memorial Day weekend. What better way to celebrate and honor our history and heritage than to infuse the spirit of red, white and blue with music, boats and relaxation?

Kicking off the festival on Saturday, May 28, Catesby Jones, Red Clay Ramblers and Susan Savia will play among many other bluegrass, folk and jazz musicians, from noon until 8 p.m., at the Harbourside Pavilion.

Talented musician Catesby Jones, and business owner and former Wilmington mayor Harper Peterson actually teamed up to create the event. Peterson, who once owned downtown’s Water Street Restaurant which hosted live music for two decades, recalls a specific visit with Jones.

“We were reminiscing about the old days of Water Street on the front porch of our sail shop [on Bald Head],” Peterson says. “Catesby mused, ‘We aught to get a couple folks together out here and have a jam some weekend. This would be a perfect location.’ I looked at him and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Seven days later we came up with the Americana Music Festival.”

Included in the festival are a bevy of musicians, from bluegrass maestro Big Al Hall to the varied stylings of Susan Savia. “I feel honored to be asked to be a part of the event,” Savia says, “especially to be included with the caliber of musicians that will be performing.” Savia regards Hall, Catesby Jones and John Fonvielle as “truly the best songwriters around, with impeccable and entertaining performances.”  Also on the bill are the Red Clay Ramblers. “It’s truly a wonderful opportunity for all of us musicians,” Savia says, “and a great event for the Cape Fear region.”

Though our area has many festivals to boot throughout the year, to experience the Americana genre on its own accord has yet to be done. According to Peterson, he wanted to present a “musical genre that hasn’t been on the island yet. Bald Head already [hosts the music] of beach, motown and a touch of jazz.”

Americana is all about tradition, so Peterson aims at keeping the activities to just that. Aside from the music, there will also be a pie-cooking contest, traditional lawn games, storytelling, a Memorial Day-themed ghost walk  and even a good ol’ fashioned hootenanny. Hosted by Catesby Jones and friends, the hootenanny will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Attendees can enjoy songs like “Amazing Grace,” ”Skip to My Lou,” “Que Sera Sera,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” and other favorites.

The Brand Boat will be hosting a custom yacht showcase and marine product demos at the Bald Head Marina on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Whether on land or water, The Brand Boat makes the showcase accessible to everyone, located on the docks in front of Eb & Flo’s restaurant.

Music, concessions and activities abound, as the Americana Music Festival main event takes place at Harbourside Pavilion on Saturday; tickets are only $10 but do not cover the ferry or parking; blankets and chairs are welcome.

Individual concerts take place throughout the weekend at Eb and Flo’s, as will a songwriter’s workshop, along with a crab crack and Memorial Day party. Folks can check out the full lineup and ferry schedule at In honor of Memorial Day, active duty military and veterans get in free with a portion of the proceeds going toward local nonprofit Wounded Warriors.

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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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