New seafood and music festival coming to Belhaven

Published 6:26 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2019

BELHAVEN — In years past, Belhaven was known far and wide for its seafood and commercial fishing industry, and a new festival coming to town later this month seeks to celebrate those roots. On Aug. 24, the Wilkinson Athletic Field will be alive with activity as the town hosts its inaugural Suds and Surf Music Festival.

Organized by Belhaven native Melvin Simmons, of Backyard Barbecue, and backed by the town of Belhaven, the event will feature fresh seafood, craft beer and live music from a wide range of local musicians.

“Belhaven, once upon a time, was a seafood hub, but then a lot of industries left and it left Belhaven in a tough situation,” Simmons said. “Our philosophy is we can’t bring industry back as of yet, but we can bring entertainment and fine arts so people can come out that day and show their goods and services.

The music at the event will include a blend of country, rock, R&B and rap, with a number of local artists performing. Filling out the lineup for the festival are Chubb Rock, Tony Terry, Eli Craig Band, Cooper Greer, Orginale, Vontana, Walt Luv and Alonza Spirit.

Belhaven Mayor Ricky Credle, who is supporting the event, says he hopes to see the event grow to a venue to offer scholarships and other opportunities for Belhaven residents.

“This is something we’ve talked about, bringing more opportunities and entertainment to the town,” Credle said. “It will create some jobs for that day — we’ll need staff, parking attendants, cleanup crews. This is the first time we’re featuring national artists on the stage like this and having them tied in with local artists.”

The event is set to last from 1 to 9 p.m., and tickets are $50 for advance admission, $60 general admission at the gate and $85 for VIP tickets, which includes free food and drink tasting.

“They can come in, relax, enjoy themselves, bring their tents and chairs and get seafood from myself and other vendors that are participating,” Simmons said. “They can drink and taste beer, win prizes on the hour, and we’ll also be giving out bookbags for the kids.”

Vendor spots and sponsorship opportunities are still available for the festival. For more information about the festival, call 919-697-3159 or email Information about sponsorships is also available from Credle, and vendor information is available through Veronica Ward.