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Gearing up for Streetfest

By Staff | Jun 26, 2015

Merchants, residents and visitors are gearing up for the return of Shepherdstown’s Street Fest, sponsored by Morgan Academy, this Saturday. After taking a year off, the organizers of the event are back with jam-packed day of music, shopping, games and more.

The event, according to Lori Robertson, president of Shepherdstown Street Fest, will benefit one local and one regional charity. This year’s local charity is the Shepherdstown Daycare, and the regional charity is CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of the Eastern Panhandle.

This year, as in the past, there will be two music stages, a main stage and the library stage. Music performances will take place from noon to 8:30 p.m.

The main stage bands are as follows:

The Reckoning, from 12:05-1:15 p.m. These talented groups of musicians are from Maryland and South-central Pennsylvania creating music from and in the vein of the Grateful Dead album “Reckoning”. The band members are enthusiastic, experienced, passionate musicians who share a love of the Grateful Dead, and all of this is in evidence from the moment the band plays its first notes until the PA is switched off for the night. Eric Avey – Guitar and Vocals, Kate Avey – Vocals, Jason Darr – Congas, Eric Fuller – Guitar and vocals, Todd Hocherl-Drums and, Eric Wagaman – Keys and Vocals

Christian Lopez Band will play from 1:50-3 p.m. Raised in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, Lopez began writing his own songs as a young teen. He has a distinct voice that highlights the “folksy, fiery twang of modern-day Americana and rootsy rock & roll”. CLB was named Belk’s (Belk Store) Modern Southern Artist of the year and got to perform as the pre-show for Zach Brown, Dave Matthews, Tim McGraw, and Blake Shelton. Backing up Christian is local favorite Chelsea McBee, with Michael Silver, and Josh LeBreton.

The Mike Westcott Band comes to the stage from 3:35-4:45 p.m. Mike’s childhood, adolescence and young adulthood was spent entirely on a backdrop of music in Rockville, MD. Filled with music, he began collecting skills like bottle caps; playing drums, piano, saxophone, bass and guitar but it was the guitar that stole his heart with it’s dynamic and expressive voice; from soft and sweet to nasty and raw. Mike’s voice is rough and golden, ageless and vulnerable. His guitar playing is wonderfully dynamic and truly expressive; forging troughs of anger and resentment and then lifting sweetly, soulfully and tenderly. Mike Westcott – Lead Vocals, Guitar Tommy Lepson – Organ, & Back up Vocals, Jay Turner – Bass Guitar and, Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums.

The Johnny Neel Band will play from 5:20-6:35 p.m.Returning to our stage is a man who has played with such greats as Dickie Betts, and the Allman Brothers Band to name only a couple. He is the recipient of the “Life Time Achievement Award” from the 2012 Grammy’s with his work with the Allman Brothers.

Jamming on stage with Johnny is Shepherdstown’s own Dominic Valentine on bass, as well as Donnie Walton on keys, and Jamie Leonard on drums, and Dave Chappell on guitar – all monster musicians! Johnny Neel, blind at birth, cut his first single at the age of twelve. Neel’s talented keyboard and harp playing convinced Gregg Allman to ask Neel to tour with his road band. Neel’s songs have been recorded by such artist’s as Montgomery/Gentry, Delbert McClinton, John Mayall, John Louis Walker and many others.

Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band is the headline band taking the stage from 7:10-8:30 p.m. They will be spreading the power of funk from coast to coast, and will have you on your feet moving to their unique sound. Funk has a new spokes band, and that band is Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Known for their raucous live shows and outrageous stage wear, the Booty Band’s sound is a mix of deep funk, high-energy rock, plus a little old school rap and soul thrown in for good measure.

Mary Frances “Mama Funk” creates a sultry platform for her keyboard and keytar playing with her powerhouse vocals. Laying down the bottom is Al Al “Sweet Nasty” Ingram on bass and vocals and Derrick “Dr Ock” Johnson on trombone. JP “Smoke Machine” Miller soars on guitar, and Lee “Insta Funk” Allen drives it all forward on drums. YMBFBB has rubbed elbows on stage with classic purveyors of the funk like Parliament Funkadelic, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins and have ventured into new territory with modern funksters The New Mastersounds and Orgone.

Admission and parking for Street Fest is free, and Robertson said the majority of fundraising comes in the form of sponsorships by local and regional businesses and individuals.

“We raise money for Street Fest through sponsorships and vendor’s fees for the day of the event. On the day of Street Fest, we raise the most money through beer and wine sales in the beer garden,” Robertson said. “It costs us $30,000 to put on Street Fest, and the more sponsors we have, the more money we can give away to those two charities.”

For more information about Shepherdstown Street Fest, including sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, call Robertson at 540-336-4737 or visit the event on Facebook, on.fb.me/1GEx7zR.