Local favorites set to bring energy, fun to audience at Rock’n On The River concert

ROTR logoOn the outskirts of downtown Fayetteville, just off Person Street, is Deep Creek Outfitters. The large brick building has a massive wooden front porch area with a tin roof. Behind it, not too far, is the roaring of the water from the Cape Fear River.

The brownish-colored river twirls in and out of thick foliage and trees, intertwining with all that surrounds it. The sound of the river can be heard from just the parking lot on certain days.

On the backside of the outfitters is a large grass space, with the Person Street bridge and the Cape Fear River creating a picturesque backdrop for it.

With an appropriate location and even more appropriate name, Rock’n On the River concert series will host Rivermist and Reflections II in just a little more than a week, on July 21 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Greg Adair, the coordinator for Rock’n On the River and drummer and vocalist for Rivermist, is a hard man to nail down. Between gigs and coordinating, he can often be reached on the road, either coming from or going to an event.

“Dos Equis and a lime please,” he says to his waitress. He and his bandmates then have a little laugh about this as it's exactly a line from one of the band’s original songs, “Right Place Right Time,” written by Allen Pier. The line isn’t always appropriate, Adair chuckles. At certain family events or venues, they change up the lyrics slightly.

“We’ve changed it to Pepsi and a lime.”

Today the five members of Rivermist are on their way to another gig. The bandmates include Adair, Allen Pier, lead and backup vocals and keyboard, Tony Harrison, Bass Guitar, Cliff Bender, Lead Guitar and Rick Starling, Vocals and Percussion/keyboard.

“We are all over the place,” Adair says about their music. Rivermist is a variety band, playing songs from Bruno Mars to Eagles to Lynard Skynard. Some of which they fit into medleys.

“‘All Summer Long’ segs with ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’” Adair says. The band chats among themselves. They seem to share a lot of laughs.

One thing Adair promises is the energy that he and the bandmates bring to each and every show. For many people, he says, they have to see it to understand it.

“If you get to [one of our] shows, you are going to say, ‘that’s good’ and I’m not saying this to sound cocky.” Adair speaks about the energy on the stage.
“There’s a lot going on.”

Adair, Pier, Harrison, Bender and Starling have been playing together since 2016. Adair got his start in music at the age of 6, playing at church and drumming on lunchboxes, cardboard boxes, really anything he could get his hands on.

He and all the members of the band, he says, are still active in their various churches.

“God has blessed us in that,” Adair says of the band’s success. So naturally, he concludes, the members must give back as well.

For Adair, he grew up as a pretty strict Christian with a lot of rules. As a kid, he wasn’t allowed to swim with someone of the opposite sex.

As far as music, he was supposed to play church music. But that really didn’t stop Adair or any of his friends.

“We all did,” he laughs about playing other types of music. Some of his favorite bands growing up are now bands he covers in Rivermist, like The Eagles, Journey, Earth, Wind and Fire.

Joining Rivermist for Rock’n on the River on the 21st is another variety or cover band, Reflections II. While two variety bands seem like they wouldn’t complement each other, Adair says the feel of Reflections II, with just as much energy as Rivermist, goes well together since they play different set lists and types of music. Reflections plays classic rock to modern country, and even dance music.

The show will begin at 6 p.m. on July 21 with Reflections II as the opener and Rivermist, the headliner, will take the stage somewhere around 8 p.m.

Adair encourages concertgoers to bring chairs. While the event is free to go, parking at the venue is a flat $10 fee. The event is outdoors and family-friendly.

No outside food is allowed but there will be food and drinks for sale. The event water and beer sales will go to the Karen Chandler Fund, a local nonprofit for cancer patients.

For more information on the Rock’n On the River series or this particular concert, the event series has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049990406810 or you can email rocknontheriver@gmail.com.

The series goes throughout the year and has published all upcoming events online.

Tips to help beginners get in the swing of golf

19bGolf courses are serene settings that allow people to enjoy the great outdoors while simultaneously engaging in the thrill of competition. Those factors undoubtedly motivate people to hit the links and play a round of golf, which remains a wildly popular sport.

In fact, a recent report from the National Golf Foundation found that roughly 119 million people followed golf on television or online, read about the game, or listened to a golf-related podcast in 2022.

Golf can certainly be a fun sport to follow, but it’s just as fun to play. Golf is a challenging sport, and it can be especially difficult for newcomers. Patience is paramount when learning to play golf, and the following are some additional strategies beginners can keep in mind as they learn to golf.

Work with a pro. Golf pros at local courses or even private coaches typically have extensive experience teaching the game. That experience is invaluable.

Beginners can learn the basics from a seasoned pro, who can instruct students on fundamentals such as stance, grip and swing so they enjoy their first round that much more.

Purchase a good set of clubs. The right clubs can make the game that much easier. Adults who are not sure if they want to fully commit to playing can get by with secondhand clubs, while parents can do the same as they try to teach their children the game. Once a commitment has been made, a new set of custom fitted clubs can be a worthy investment that lets golfers take their game to the next level.

Using clubs that are too small or too large can affect performance, as can other factors like grip size. Custom fitted clubs can be expensive, so beginners may want to wait until they catch the golfing bug before they make such an investment on the sport.

Golf with a friend. The buddy system makes numerous recreational activities more fun, and golf is no exception. Beginners can ask a friend who already plays to tag along, but it also can be fun to learn the sport alongside another novice.

Friends with experience may be willing to offer some tips to becoming a better player. Two beginners can share a few laughs as they navigate their way through rounds that might end up well over par.

Choose the right courses. Certain courses are more challenging than others. Par-3 courses can be perfect for beginners because they include only par 3 holes, which feature shorter distances from tee to cup and tend to be flatter and easier for novices. Par-3 courses also tend to be just nine holes, which can be ideal for beginners.

When playing a traditional course, beginners can look for one with a reputation for being less challenging so they are not discouraged by their final scores.

Millions of people enjoy playing the game of golf. As beginners introduce themselves to the game, they can keep various strategies in mind to ensure their day on the links is fun and fruitful.

Hope Mills celebrates Independence Week

12cStart off Independence Week with a bang and a parade in Hope Mills. The city is hosting a day-long event on Saturday, July 1, filled with music and activities that will keep the whole family happy and occupied.

This will be the 41st Annual Town of Hope Mills Independence Day Celebration.

Festivities will begin at 4 p.m. with a parade. The parade route will begin at Hope Mills Middle School and will conclude at Rockfish Elementary. The parade will have floats, cars and local businesses and organizations.

Directly following the parade, Independence Celebration in the Park will begin at Hope Mills Municipal Park. There will be fun for people of all ages and special musical performances.

This year, entertainment includes two live musical guests, Krispee Biscuits and Paige King Johnson. Krispee Biscuits is an eclectic electronic duo fresh out of Wilmington, who are equipped with a classically trained violinist and a Future Funk-bred DJ maestro.

“Paige King Johnson is a four-time Carolina Country Music Award winner from Angier. She has shared the stage with many great artists over the years, such as Kane Brown, Joe Nichols, Kylie Morgan, Jimmie Allen, Diamond Rio, Scotty McCreery, Neal McCoy and more,” said Meghan Freeman, Assistant Director Programs and Events for Hope Mills Parks and Recreation.

“The 2023 Independence Day Celebration is much like that of last year’s celebration. Patrons can look forward to an evening filled with food from over 15 food trucks, three local breweries, one local winery, and stilt walkers from Imagine Circus,” Freeman told Up & Coming Weekly.

The Celebration will conclude at 9 p.m. with the annual fireworks display provided by Pyro Shows East Coast.

For those who want to celebrate a little earlier, Hope Mills Parks and Recreation is hosting an Independence Luncheon for those ages 55 and older. The luncheon is on Thursday, June 29 at 11 a.m.

The luncheon will be a fully catered meal with music and dancing. Come and celebrate independence with food, fellowship and fun. There will be door prizes and maybe an extra surprise or two. Tickets are $15 and must be bought beforehand at https://secure.rec1.com/NC/hope-mills-nc/catalog.

For more information about the Independence Day Luncheon or the Independence Celebration on July 1, go to www.townofhopemills.com.

Cash & The King: Elvis has re-entered the building

13Greg Adair, event coordinator for the Gates Four Summer Concert Series, has one rule for booking talent. He won’t take a look at press kits. He needs to see what he is really going to experience.

“I go find them on Youtube from someone’s iPhone. If they are good there, that’s when I will start booking them.”

This is exactly how Adair found Stephen Freeman. Freeman is all over Youtube. Freeman is a touring Elvis tribute artist and musician and has been for more than 20 years. “He favors him. He has the moves of him. He sings like him,” Adair said.

Freeman will be the upcoming headliner of the Gates Four Summer Concert Series show on July 7 called “Cash and The King.”

His dark locks fall across his forehead as he struts onto the stage. In each video, you can see the different open-chested, bell-bottomed suits with all the embellishments. The King is back, even if only for a night.

Freeman’s performance is as much focused on showmanship as it is his vocal talents. His long pointed chops angle across his face as he takes the center stage in a white, embellished suit with a large gold adorned belt.

There’s little introduction from Freeman. Instead, he jumps straight into the vocals of “Burning Love.” His legs start shaking with the beat as he moves his hands about, displaying large golden rings typical of the King at this era.

“He is absolutely phenomenal,” said Bill Bowman, the event organizer and publisher of Up & Coming Weekly.

Opening for Freeman at Gates Four will be Mark Gagnon who performs as Johnny Cash. According to Freeman, Gagnon too, sounds and looks a lot like his idol, Johnny Cash. Bowman says these kind of shows with “high” level talent brings a different level of entertainment to the Hope Mills community.

“This is going to be a Las Vegas type show — we have a full band, backup singers and lights ... The format itself lends itself to a unique theatrical experience,” Bowman said.

As for Freeman, his start did not include touring as Elvis and proudly displaying his chest in open studded suits in Las Vegas style shows. In fact, he began a career as a police officer in 1993 and did a small event at a friend’s wedding in 1998. By 2002, Freeman left the force and was focusing full time on Elvis.

Elvis was always his favorite musician. He says he spent his years growing up watching his performances and the changes in Elvis that happened from the 1950s to 1970s.
Freeman has been swinging with the King so long, he doesn’t have to do as much practicing anymore to keep the moves down. As far as nerves, they’ve left the building, too.

“I love performing with my band and look forward to working to make the fans happy and doing our small part to keep his memory and legacy alive for future generations,” Freeman said.

He plans to do just that. Gagnon and Freeman have performed together many times and say the duo goes really well together.

“We like to keep the show light and fun with humor and commitment to paying tribute to these legends to the best of our ability,” Freeman said. “Forget your troubles and pains for a couple of hours and just simply enjoy the fellowship of others who enjoy the incredible music.”

The doors for the show will open at 5:30 p.m. on July 7 with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Gates Four Country Club Ballroom. This event will be ticketed with tickets priced from $75-95 including food and wine tasting for the event.

There is a discount available for seniors and military both active duty and retired.

Tickets may go fast as Bowman says they expect to sell out.

For more information about the show visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com or call Bowman at 910-391-3859.

“It’s a really great time for the music business post COVID,” said Adair, “And that is going to be a really great show.”

Fayetteville hosts concert, fireworks, block party

12bThere are plenty of things to do in and around Fayetteville on the 4th of July. The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra presents the annual Independence Concert & Fireworks at Festival Park. Special guests include the Fayetteville Symphonic Band and the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Band. This patriotic event is free.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:15p.m. There will be food and drink vendors and a children’s play area. Personal tents, pets, bicycles and scooters are prohibited.

For those looking for a relaxing spot as the sun starts going down, head on over to the Cool Spring Downtown District’s block party taking place on Maxwell Street.

The July 4th FAYcation celebration runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and will have a little something for everyone. There will be local DJs, a beer garden, BBQ from local vendors, yard games, water fun and much more.

The FAYcation block party will feature DJ Kool.

The event is free to attend, but guests can register at www.eventbrite.com/e/july-4th-faycation-tickets-638893817607

This Cool Spring Downtown District block party comes on the heels of their successful Juneteenth Jubilee, which saw an estimated 28,000 visitors during the weekend.

Director of Special Projects Ashanti Bennett says these events benefit the city by attracting visitors and new business.

“It’s the economic growth that’s making downtown stronger,” Bennett said. “We’re working hard to get rid of vacancies so that ... there’s something to do all the time in downtown, which is something we’re pretty proud of. These days ... You gotta plan your nights out in advance because there is a lot going on all of the time.”

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