uac051811001.jpg Nothing says summer in Fayetteville like Fayetteville After 5. With the demise of the Fayetteville Museum of Art, many in the community thought this beloved event would also slip away. But thanks to community sponsors and the Dogwood Festival Board, the event is back and better than ever.

So slip on your shagging shoes and head down to Festival Park on Thursday, May 19, to welcome summer to the community with the smooth sounds of one of the state’s favorite beach bands, The Tams.

“We are so excited to be honored with the opportunity to partner with Bud Light/R.A. Jeffrey’s with another community event,” said Carrie King, executive director of the Dogwood Festival. “Our partnership through the spring Dogwood Festival has blossomed into a series of committed community events. We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to host this event.

“With this joint venture we now are a one-stop source for free entertainment for the spring and summer,” she continued. “We certainly don’t give folks a reason to say there’s nothing to do in Fayetteville!”

While King has nothing but good things to say about the title sponsor, Jeff Fox, the zone manager for R.A. Jeffreys is also a big fan of the Dogwood Festival.

“This year’s Fayetteville After 5 concert series will be spectacular with our new host, the Dogwood Festival,” he said. “We are very proud of the success this event has had in the past, and moving forward, we know that Fayetteville After 5 will be another premier event. We, at Bud Light R.A. Jeffrey’s, are excited to offer Fayetteville After 5 as a free event in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg community — the place we call home.”

The community is again invited to bring their blankets and lawn chairs down to the park to listen to some great music, dance and enjoy a summer’s evening with their friends and families. Food and beverages will be available for sale at Festival Park.

The event has quite a following among lovers of beach music, and those folks will be happy to know that some of their favorite bands will be returning.

The Tams will kick-off the event on May 19. Formed in Atlanta, Ga., in 1962, the members of the 05-18-11-thetams.jpgband sang and danced as a way of having fun and to escape their circumstances while hoping to make at least a little money. The group began performing in local night spots for $1.25 each. These small wages only allowed for them to purchase matching Tam O’shanter hats to wear while on stage. From this trademark, the legendary Tams name was born. The band had their first Billboard hit in 1962, the single “Untie Me.” In 1963, ABC Records signed them and their fi rst album produced a Top 10 hit, “What Kind of Fool.” They began playing throughout the country and a string of hits followed, including “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “I’ve Been Hurt” and “Hey Girl.” Since then, they have released more than 15 albums and been honored with one Platinum and two Gold records. They have toured and recorded with Jimmy Buffet and performed with such greats as Gladys Knight, Jackie Wilson and many more. They have received the title “Beach Band of the Decade” and have been inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Hall of Fame and the Beach Music Hall of Fame.

On June 16, Cafe Mars, a Raleigh-based band known for a mix of funk, jazz and pop will be on stage.

On July 21, another legendary band, The Embers, will take to the stage. For decades The Embers have been making music by playing a mix of rhythm and blues and heart and soul — otherwise known as Beach Music — for years. Bobby Tomlinson, drummer and the leader of the band, believes that Beach Music is music with a memory. To say that the Embers play Beach Music is an understatement. After 17 albums and numerous single releases, The Embers are one of the most popular bands as well as one of the most active groups in the country. They boast an average of 300 dates per year, all ranging from Toronto to Florida, and westward to California and Hawaii. Over the years they’ve played for presidents and princes, students and bankers, at the beach and in the city, on record and in concert.

The Embers have survived disco, punk, new wave and hip-hop. They’ve been inducted into the South Carolina Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and were named North Carolina’s Offi cial Musical Ambassadors. 05-18-11-cafe-mars.jpg

On Aug. 18, Suicide Blonde will return to Fayetteville After 5. Based out of Raleigh, N.C., 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 for an unforgettable time of fun and excess.

The series winds up on Sept. 15, with a performance by The Band of Oz. The Band of Oz was formed in 1967 as a part-time band playing fraternity parties and high school proms all over the South. In 1977, the band went on the road full time. Since that time the band has made an exceptional name for itself throughout the Southeast by playing the top clubs and corporate parties, and getting excellent reviews along the way. For several years the group has been a guest on most of the major beach concerts in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia.

All the fun happens the third Thursday of every month at Festival Park. Bring your blankets, chairs, friends and families, but leave your pets and your coolers at home. For more information, visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com.

Photo: Top right - The Tams, bottom left - Cafe Mars

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