Shaggin’ on the waterfront|Downtown groups benefit from beach music festival

Published 2:49 pm Sunday, August 30, 2009

Community Editor

The Pirates Beach Music Festival is land-locked no more.
The festival, in its sixth year, is moving from the Pitt County Fairgrounds to the Washington waterfront adjacent to the N.C. Estuarium. It will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 13, with the first band performing at 1 p.m.
The lineup includes beach-music mainstays The Embers, The Band of Oz, Johnny Dollar Band and Chairmen of the Board.
Mac “Bear” Hodges, a Downtown Washington on the Waterfront board member, brought the idea to move the festival to festival founders Billy Dunn and John Moore after last year’s edition.
“I said, ‘It would be a whole lot better to carry this out to the river instead of it being at the Pitt County Fairgrounds,’” Hodges said.
Hodges, who attended last year’s festival with a group of friends, said he had a good time but that it was too hot at the open-air fairgrounds.
“We had to leave early because it was so hot,” he said.
Moore and Dunn were receptive to the idea, and after a tour of the waterfront, hatched a plan beneficial to them and Washington.
The founders, through Main Street Promotions, agreed to find sponsors and book bands if DWOW would take care of the logistics and obtain the necessary permits for the event.
DWOW, as well as several other area nonprofits, will receive revenue through advance ticket sales. Advance tickets for the event cost $15 each.
For each ticket purchased in advance at the Washington/Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Visitor Center, the Beaufort County Arts Council’s headquarters or the Turnage Theater’s box office, a part of the purchase price will go to the nonprofit that sold the ticket. Some of the revenue from tickets sold at the Visitor Center will go DWOW.
The Washington Area Historic Foundation also is selling tickets in advance, with the nonprofit selling its ticket allotment door-to-door, Hodges said.
“That kind of offer doesn’t come along every day,” said DWOW administrator Beth Byrd.
Dunn is expected to make an additional donation to the city that will go toward building a new structure on the grassy space between the N.C. Estuarium and the soon-to-open Pirates Grill and Pub, which is located in the former McQuay Building at the end of South Market Street, Byrd said.
Moore, master of ceremonies for the festival and a disc jockey at radio station WNCT-FM, said the move from Pitt County to the Washington waterfront was a “no-brainer.”
He called Stewart Parkway and the promenade running parallel “the most beautiful place on God’s green earth.”
The festival is intended to provide a family atmosphere, Moore said, with coolers, chairs and blankets allowed. In addition, alcoholic beverages in nonglass containers will be allowed.
Advance tickets for the festival are limited and going fast, Moore said. Tickets also may be purchased at Century 21, Travel Stores, Down on Mainstreet and Mimi’s, all festival sponsors, or for $20 each at the door.
Byrd said DWOW wants to keep the festival in Washington for years to come.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure it works out real well so we can do it again,” she said.
Moore is all for that.
“I couldn’t think of a better cause than DWOW,” he said. “Can it get any better?”