uac050912001.jpgWhile many in the community are taking a deep breath and recovering from the hectic celebration of the Dogwood Festival, the staff of the Dogwood Festival is jumping feet fi rst into planning a different kind of party in the same location. Fayetteville After 5 is back, and it’s rocking harder than ever in Festival Park.

Originally started as a fundraiser for the now defunct Fayetteville Museum of Art, Fayetteville After 5 is a celebration of summer. Held on the third Thursday of the month from May to September, Fayetteville After 5 offers Fayetteville residents a chance to shake off the work week blues, kick back in the park and enjoy a good time with friends, family and great music.

This season’s offerings kick-off on Thursday, May 17 with one of the city’s favorite ‘80s bands, Suicide Blonde. Based out of Raleigh, Suicide Blonde is comprised of “children of the ‘80s” who have united to bring back the spirit of this incredible decade. With its lineup of experienced musicians, this exciting band well remembers what it was like to wear a mullet, hop in the Trans-Am and drive to the blaring sounds of AC/DC, David Bowie or the Cure. With a wealth of experience in many genres of music, Suicide Blonde brings the required professionalism, musicianship and unmistakable love of the ‘80s to the stage and invites Fayetteville residents to come out and “work for the weekend.”

The band will be joined on stage by the Fantasy Band, playing smoothed out rhythm and blues, Top 40 and beach music.

On June 21, Craig Woolard will open the show, with the timeless sounds of beach music, the Carolina’s own sound. Woolard is popular among beach music fans, and invites you to kick off your shoes, and hit the floor for some smooth shagging.

Bull City Syndicate, another Triangle-based band, started as a blues band in 1993, originally going by the name Soul Kitchen. Founded by Durham musicians Dave Wilkins and Stephen Michael Jack, they played their fi rst gig at the Down Under Pub on Main Street in downtown Durham. The band later morphed into a ‘70s retro band with the addition of Vondy Strickland and Clark Edgerton on horns. After adding a trumpet to the mix, the “Bull City Horns” were born. For many years, Soul Kitchen & The Bull City Horns was one of the most popular club acts in the Triangle, setting the standard for horn bands in the region. While changes have taken place over the course of 16 years, in both personnel and musical direction, the main course of the band remains as a “horn band,” not a “band with horns.” 05-09-12-fay-after-5-logo.jpg

Most of the current line-up has been together for years now, in which time the band recorded their first CD, You Make Me Feel, changed their name to Bull City Syndicate and grew from a top-drawing Triangle cover band, to one of the most in-demand special event and festival bands in the Mid- Atlantic region.

On Aug. 16, the Johnny Orr Band and the Johnny Folsom 4 bring a little country to Festival Park.

The Johnny Orr band is fronted by Johnny Orr, who made it to the finals at Nashville Star in 2007 making the top 30, he’s been on CMT’s Big Break with Sara Evans, he’s opened for Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Gretchen Wilson, LeAnn Rimes, Little Big Town, Jason Michael Carroll, Phil Vassar, Josh Gracin, Josh Thompson, Jeff Bates and Josh Turner.

From “A Boy Named Sue” to “Ring of Fire,” four of Raleigh’s favorite musical sons pay tribute to the Man in Black with the Johnny Folsom Four. True to the Johnny Cash’s poetic spirit, the JF4 promises an honest and entertaining performance for fans of all ages.

Lead singer David Burney brings a lilting southern baritone to Cash’s classic songs which hits the mark well enough that you may wonder on occasion if Cash, himself, is in the building. David Gresham more than meets the challenge of filling in for Luther and Carl Perkins on those classic guitar licks. And Tom Mills (bass) and Randy Benefield (drums) provide the hallmark, train-like driving rhythm the whole world loves. And when the boys are living right, the remarkable Miss Eleanor Jones joins in on those classic Johnny and June duets; hotter than a pepper sprout!

05-09-12-fay-after-5-pic.jpgWhen it comes to honoring Johnny Cash, JF4 walks the line.

The season wraps up on Sept. 20 with The Tams, one of the Carolina’s favorite beach bands. Liquid Pleasure has an eclectic play with everything from Top 40 to Beach and rock.

With such an amazing line-up this year’s Fayetteville after 5 looks to have something to please everyone. Held in Festival park, the gates open at 5 p.m., with opening acts beginning between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Headliners will begin between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and will play until around 10:30 p.m.

You’re invited to bring your blankets an chairs and spread out on the lawn, but no outside food or beverages or pets are allowed within the park. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival.

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