Summer Concert Series features Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot

14The Summer Concert Series presents Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot Friday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion.

“We have had a busy summer and we are continuing until November,” said Gary Lowder, leader of the band Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot.

“We have performed at the Virginia Beach Music Festival, the upcoming North Carolina Oyster Festival, the North Carolina Seafood Festival and anything that has fish or seafood in it, we are there.”

“Smokin’ Hot has been together about 14 years and we are a full-time eight-piece R & B Soul Party Band,” said Lowder.

“We play a lot of the music that people grew up with such as KC & The Sunshine Band, Kool & The Gang and our own original music that gets a lot of airplay across the region.”

He added, “We play a lot of line dance music for our dancing crowd, Shag music for the shaggers and the newer cover music for our young crowd.”
Lowder has always had a love for music and was exposed to it at an early age.

“I have been involved in music since I was a teenager and I have played music in and out of the country,” said Lowder. “I grew up in the Carolinas and in 1982 I moved to Minneapolis.”

His backstory is while living in Minneapolis, he had groups that performed for various festivals and corporate events. The last year that he lived there his bass player and keyboard player were hired by the late singer, musician and producer Prince.

He decided to move back to the Carolinas and had no intentions of getting back into the music industry, but low and behold, he began working with a few musical groups and decided to put his own group back together.

His efforts finally formed into the band that it is today, Smokin’ Hot.

“When I lived in Fayetteville originally I was part of a group called Hot Smokin’ Brass and we were Jackie Wilson’s back-up band for several years until he had a stroke and I kind of borrowed part of the name of that band and created my own band when I moved back to the coast,” said Lowder.

Their last CD had four number one hits that are played on known countdowns. In 2021, Lowder was awarded Male Vocalist of the Year from The Carolina Beach Music Association.

When asked what can the audience expect from the band’s performance at the Summer Concert Series, Lowder promises the audience will enjoy themselves because the band knows how to move the crowd.

“You are going to hear some of your favorite music that you have grown up listening to and we look forward to seeing you at the show.”

The event is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., food and drinks start at 6 p.m.

For more information on the band visit www.garylowdermusic.com

For more information about the Gates Four Summer Concert Series or to purchase VIP seating visit https://www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com/

Fans find friendship, community in local Anime Club

ANime club old picThe Fayetteville, NC Anime Club is a local club for anime and manga fans, a hidden gem tucked away in Fayetteville's community.

The local Anime Club provides a welcoming space for anime and manga enthusiasts to connect with others, indulge in their shared passion, and forge lasting friendships while having a great time.

Anime Club is an excellent place to meet fellow anime fans, make new friendships, watch and talk about anime together, and have fun.

Jessica Bundy, one of the founders of the Fayetteville, NC Anime Club, spoke with Up & Coming Weekly about the club's origins.

Fayetteville’s local libraries had anime clubs for high school students. It was a wonderful place for teens to socialize and share their passion for anime, she said.

Unfortunately, there was no place for the teens to go once they aged out of the group. Then the librarian suggested they start their own anime club, and the Fayetteville, NC Anime Club was born.

The Anime Club meets twice a month on the second and fourth Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. The meetings are held at Beans and Things Coffee shop located at 5554 Yadkin Road, where food and drinks are available for purchase.

There will be meetings on July 22 and Aug. 12. Future meetings will be on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FayettevilleNCAnimeClub

During certain months, they may only meet once a month because of holidays or special events. Any upcoming cancellations of future meetings will be on their Facebook page.

An Anime Club meeting usually involves showing a few episodes of either the latest anime show or an older one. There is a wide range of interests among the members. For instance, some people play Magic the Gathering while anime plays in the background.

Anime is a Japanese word for animation and means any animated film, unlike Manga which is printed cartoons. Anime also refers to Japanese animation. Anime-influenced animation refers to anime-inspired animation produced outside Japan.

Anime is popular globally and is a billion-dollar business. Famous anime shows that might sound familiar are Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, One Punch Man, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia. According to Netflix, over half of their 200 million-plus global subscribers watched anime in 2021.

To one of the Fayetteville Anime Club founders, the club represents more than a shared interest.

Jessica Bundy says, “It’s making friends ... hanging out with people who are just as excited about these things as I am. It’s a lot about friendship and community.”

For local anime enthusiasts, the Fayetteville, NC Anime Club is a hidden gem. It offers a community where stories are shared and friendships are created. Whether you are an anime enthusiast, or curious about anime, consider stepping into the world of the Fayetteville, NC Anime Club, where the sense of community and the shared passion for anime create an experience unlike any other.

Midsummer Magic fills downtown Fayetteville

midsummerYou know it’s summer in Fayetteville when the annual Midsummer Magic event comes back to downtown.

The two-day event promises a wealth of unique sights and sounds, which is what Betsy McElwee, event coordinator for the Downtown Alliance, is looking forward to the most.

“One of the main objectives for this event is to get people kind of circulating downtown and learning about new businesses that maybe they didn’t know about,” McElwee said.

As one of the signature events for the Downtown Alliance, Midsummer Magic is a unique opportunity to bring the people of Fayetteville together for a tour of the businesses downtown has to offer.

The event takes place at several businesses downtown on July 21 and 22. You just need to pick up a Fairy Journal, which can be found online or at several downtown businesses, and follow the Fairy Door Scavenger Hunt and Quest instructions.

This journal will also show you where there are special promotions and activities at different businesses. The scavenger hunt will take place between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on
both days.

“There are also going to be traveling gnomes throughout the day who will help people answer different questions that are on the quest. So there will be different random kinds of trivia questions. And a gnome may answer that question for you, or they may tell you where you need to go to find the answer. So there is a book of knowledge that will be downtown, where you’ll have to locate the book of knowledge to answer the question,” McElwee said.

If you complete the Fairy Journal, you can turn it in by July 22 and be eligible for a prize.

The LlamaCorns will be returning and performers will be scattered throughout the event to delight those on their quest.

Everyone is also encouraged to dress in their most fantastic fairy, sprite, goblin, dwarf or wizard ensemble for a chance to win this year’s costume contest. Participants only need to tag their picture on their personal social media page with #MidsummerMagicFayNC to enter for a chance to win prizes.

The costume contest is separated into different categories for Downtown Businesses, kids ages 0 through 4, kids ages 5 through 10, kids ages 12 through 17, adults, groups and pets.

For adults looking for a different way to explore businesses, the Midsummer Crawl will be coming back on Friday, July 21, from 5 to 9 p.m. The crawl happened once before the pandemic, but McElwee said they are excited to see it return.

“We’ll be publishing a list of drink specials and activities that’ll be going on during the crawl. And we'll have about 15 or more bars and restaurants, food-based businesses, there’s a few cafes. It won’t only be alcohol. There’ll be some businesses that will have a dessert on the menu. Because not every business that’s doing the crawl has alcohol, but a big portion of them do,” McElwee said.

Midsummer Magic is free and open to the public, but some activities will have an associated cost.

For more information regarding Midsummer Magic and to download a Fairy Journal, visit https://www.faydta.com/our-events/downtown-fayetteville-scavenger-hunt/

Gospel concert gives back to the community

GospelBlessed -N- Blessings Gospel Concert is Friday, July 21 at 7 p.m. at Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Auditorium.

Apostle Alber “Trevy” Treadwell, emcee and promoter of the event, said concert attendees will experience “a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, exciting good time in the Lord.”

Treadwell said the event is two-fold. The first is because it celebrates Treadwell’s several decades of preaching.

Secondly, it is to be a blessing in the community.

Treadwell’s ministry, Treadwell Evangelistic Empowerment Ministries Inc. is uniting with Church of the Living God Religious Education Center’s Pastor Dr. Calvin Vanbeverhoudt.

He and Vanbeverhoudt have known each other for years and this is the first gospel concert event they’ve done together.

It was a vision Vanbeverhoudt had to bring people together after the pandemic and bring them into an atmosphere of praise and worship.

Treadwell said this event benefits the community because a good portion of the proceeds that are raised from ticket sales will go back to Fayetteville community nonprofits.

They chose to have the concert at FSU because it allows them to encourage the community, give back to education and the community as a whole, he said.

“We believe Jesus plus education equals success,” Treadwell said. “We couldn’t have found a better way to give back to Fayetteville State [than] by hosting an event there. Why not pour back into education by hosting the event?”

Led by the spirit of the Lord
Treadwell said that music is soothing and provides encouragement to the soul.

“Whether you’re a fan of secular or gospel music, some form of music has lifted your spirits or has encouraged a person to go one more mile,” he said.

“We just want to be obedient to the voice of the Lord and He gets the full glory out of
the event.”

The concert will also include music by Minister Jarell Smalls & Company and the Rev. Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires. Gospel comedian Elder Willie Brown will be in attendance.

Also scheduled is youth group Today’s Youth Giving God Praise. The group empowers the youth, Treadwell said. He said he witnessed performances they had where there was not a dry eye in the place because of how they minister.

“We want to take gospel music to heal the hurting hearts that are here in the community and surrounding community,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell said to make the concert more affordable for attendees, when purchasing tickets, use CHURCHY on Eventbrite to receive $10 off a ticket.

VIP tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door on the day of the concert. General Admission tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. There are no cash sales, only debit and credit card only.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. on July 21 and the concert is set to begin at 7 p.m.

To purchase tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blessed-n-blessings-gospel-concert-2023-tickets-624124572397.

Sunset Series buzzes with bees, food, music, botanical history

Sunset SeriesAn all-female country and “new” grass band, moonshine, cocktails and a unique NASCAR exhibit are a few of the many options to experience at Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s Sunset Series event on July 21.

According to Beth Hess, Marketing and Sponsorship Consultant at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, the Sunset Series allows attendees to enjoy the long stretches of daylight during the summer. It even invites people to experience the garden during hours when they are usually closed.

The Sunset Series has been a part of summers at Cape Fear Botanical Garden since late 2020.

“We have one featured night in June, July and August. At times it has included murder mystery events, performing arts and concerts,” Hess said.

The July 21 event is bee-themed and is from 6 to 9 p.m. It’s for more than just nature lovers.

Attendees of the event will be able to purchase from different food trucks on site, Bees & Boards Charcuterie Co., cocktails and moonshine.

“Bees & Boards will be there because of the bee theme and because charcuterie is yummy and great to share with your ‘honey,’” Hess said.

Admission for CFBG members and children age 5 and under is free.

For non-members, children ages 6 to 12 entry is $5; 13+ entry is $10; military with ID is $9; adults 65 and older is $9.

Riggsbee Road
The concert for July 21 will be performed by Riggsbee Road, a music group from Raleigh.

Hess said that Riggsbee Road was chosen for more than its talent and because of its ties to North Carolina.

“They have their big banjo sound and harmonies reminiscent of early roots of our region's music. They also continue to perform songs with strong storytelling — from all time periods and genres — that bring back that feeling of rocking on a porch at sunset listening to great stories from neighbors and friends,” Hess said.

The band was created in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic. They started as a band of five and grew to seven.

Riggsbee Road got its name because of a walk in the cemetery and a romance story almost a century old.

Shelley Kelly, lead vocalist in the group, described how it happened.

“A few months into the project, we needed a name, so we all started brainstorming. We had a long list of ideas, but nothing that really stuck,” Kelly said.

She and her husband walked through the Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Raleigh — an old, historic landmark in the historic Oakwood neighborhood.

“As we walked, we looked at the names on tombstones for inspiration. We saw Riggsbee and we both thought it sounded like a bluegrass band,” she said. She added it to the list and presented it to the band and they were warm to it.

A few weeks later, it was Valentine’s Day 2021, and an article popped up in her newsfeed about a woman who met and fell in love with her husband at a soda shop on the first floor of the Hudson Belk Building in downtown Raleigh.

Kelly thought it was interesting because she met her husband in the same building on the first floor.

“The building is called the Hudson today, converted to condos, and is where I lived when I met my husband in 2016,” she said. “The article listed her last name as Riggsbee and continued to tell the story of how the couple married, built a house in 1928, had a family and were buried at Oakwood Cemetery!”

As coincidences go, dots connected for Kelly.

“My husband and I got married and bought a house near downtown that was built in 1928! My husband is also the person who encouraged me to start the dream project,” she said.

Kelly said the women in the band said Riggsbee had to be the name of the group and they just added “Road” to the end.

Riggsbee Road covers pop, country and classic tunes. As Kelly said, “We cover from Dolly Parton, Chris Stapleton, Bon Jovi to The Judds. From Harry Styles to Meghan Trainor.”

She said that Bluegrass music is one of the first styles of music played in North Carolina.

She said it has an earthy, rooted, wholesome feel — especially because she and the other members have gospel and Christian roots.

“Our audience tells us they can’t guess what’s coming next when we perform,” Kelly said. “We keep them on their toes.”

Horticulture, Hooch & Outlaws
“For 2023, we themed the Sunset Series events to coordinate with our Special Exhibit: Horticulture, Hooch & Outlaws in Fast Cars,” Hess said.

The tour is self-guided with informational panels, memorabilia and more looks at the botanical roots of racing in the south.

“From the grains used to make the moonshine all the way to the ways NASCAR is looking at biofuels today,” she said.

The exhibit is on loan from Hortication, a horticulturally based education company that develops traveling exhibits for gardens. For more information, visit https://hortication.com/exhibits/horticulture-hooch-and-outlaws-in-fast-cars/.

The exhibit at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden runs through Aug. 20.

The final Sunset of the season is scheduled for Aug. 18. The theme includes lines, such as race-inspired games with finish lines, country music line dancing and more.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden
“We are located two miles from downtown Fayetteville,” Hess said. “Right in the middle of business, we are peace, beauty, relaxation and education.”

Cape Fear Botanical Garden was founded in 1989. It sits on 80 acres of land and is open 360 days a year.

For more information, visit https://www.capefearbg.org/.

Latest Articles

  • ASOM Foundation presents the Mogadishu Mile 5K
  • Breaking the chains of loneliness: A path to victory over the epidemic of isolation
  • Bullying prevention month: make a noise about bullying
  • Early voting in Fayetteville primary begins Thursday
  • Fort Liberty to resume programs interupted by Covid-19
  • FTCC to hold youth dental fair Oct. 21
Up & Coming Weekly Calendar

Advertise Your Event: