Double festival takes over waterfront Washington

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wilmington rockers Onward, Soldiers gained quite a few local fans during their 2012 BOCO performance at Festival Park.

Wilmington rockers Onward, Soldiers gained quite a few local fans during their 2012 BOCO performance at Festival Park.


BOCO Music Festival and Marine Market set for Saturday

Roving pirates, a fire show, test rides on the latest boats. Steaming chowder, face painting and nautical art for home and yard. Country, Indie, bluegrass, rock.

You name it, Washington’s got it this Saturday at the second annual combo of the Marine Market and BOCO Music Festival that will spread across the Washington waterfront from Saturday Market at West Main and Stewart Parkway all the way down to Festival Park.

From 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., there will be something going on on the waterfront, according to Joey Toler, executive director of the Beaufort County Arts Council.

“Rather than have competing festivals we decided to combine the WHDA’s Marine Market and the arts council’s music festival,” said Toler. “It worked out really well last year and this year it’s going to be even better.”

The Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, also BOCO sponsors, will start their musical day at 10 a.m., with a jam session on the Festival Park stage. From there, short performances by the traditional music bands will lead up to main stage acts from far away as West Africa, whose music is invoked by Senegalese musician Diali Cissokho and his band Kaira Ba, and as close as home with local favorites Carolina Still.

As for the Marine Market, Beth Byrd, director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, said the flea market will be one of their main draws, as more than 20 vendors will be selling marine goods both old and new.

“That’s everything from yard ornaments to Donnie Tucker from Winterville—he does all kinds of antique, neat fishing and hunting items,” Byrd said. “It’s very unusual stuff that you just don’t see anymore.”

In addition to 10 commercial marine vendors, Park Boat Company will have its boats on both land and sea—available for test drives.

Food vendors and artisans will line Stewart Parkway and Water Street, bridging the two festivals, merging the music lovers with the marine marketers, Bryd said.

“We though this event would serve our community better,” Byrd said. “It’s all local vendors and it has something for everybody. And what better place to have a marine show than on the water here?”

What better place, too, to have a hula-hooping fire show at dark? asked Toler.

Back for a repeat performance, Carrboro’s Hoopdrum return to keep the crowds entertained between musical acts later in the day. But when the sun goes down, that’s when the combination of hula-hoops and fire will have the audience enthralled, according to Toler.

“Last year, all these people just showed up at dark, out of nowhere, to watch the fire show,” said Toler. “It was amazing.”

Toler said the between BCTMA representatives Rob Cuthrell and Linda Boyer, Lone Leaf Gallery owner Neil Loughlin and himself, the festival lineup covers a broad swath of musical genres: “blue-collar mysticism” in Hiss Golden Messenger; Americana/acoustic rock quartet The Barefoot Movement; the “smoldering chamber pop” of Some Army, and more.

Toler said that in its fifth year as a festival, the BOCO committee and volunteers take preparation and set up in stride.

“I love this event because it brings all the components of the boating community together with music and fun,” said Byrd.

BOCO Music Festival and Marine Market are free and open to the public. Both festivals will take place rain or shine. Questions about the Marine Market, contact For more information about BOCO Music Festival, visit