It’s SPRING! That time of year when Downtown erupts into a riot of color as trees & flowers bloom and people venture out after a long winter, eager to don their shorts & flip-flops and enjoy all that Downtown has to offer. Spring also signals the return of two of Downtown’s most beloved music events – Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays.

Music lovers of all ages are encouraged to gather at NOMA Square (in front of The Hyatt) every Thursday at 5:30PM to experience some of the best musical talent the Southeast has to offer! The 2013 season of Downtown Alive kicks off the first official day of Spring (March 21st), with the 8 piece guitar driven southern funk rock of TJ Lazer & the New Detriots. The March lineup also features Orangeburg country crooner, Brad Jennings on the 28th. April not only spotlights some sweet bluegrass from local favorites, The Piedmont Boys, but also features a trio of acts from the Charleston area like Downtown regulars, Stereo Reform and The Tarletons, as well as a newcomer to DTA, Brave Baby. May does not disappoint with a plethora of rock, soul & Americana to choose from in the homegrown music of Mark Webb, Old You, Lyric and The Soul feathers…not to mention a kilt-flaring Scottish ceildh with The City of Greenville Pipes & Drums and the Celtic rock of Cleghorn to kick-off the Greenville Scottish Games on the 23rd! As the temps heat up, so does the music with June performances by cover band, The Sound Committee, local YouTube darlings, Outshyne, Downtown funk diva, Kelly Jo Connect and local fave, singer/songwriter Doug McCormick. Don’t let the steamy July & August weather keep you indoors…or you will miss some AMAZING music, like alternative tunes of The Wheresville Project, Charleston-based songwriter, Luke Cunningham, and Downtown music scene regular, Benton Blount in July and Midlands newcomers, The Reggie Sullivan Band, the adventure of Bushfire Stankgrass, the big ’80’s hair, flashback fun of Retro Vertigo and the incendiary guitar finesse of teen phenom, Marcus King & his band! Downtown Alive winds up with a performance by the winner of the Last Band Standing Battle of the Bands on the 29th.

If your taste in music leans more towards hot jazz and cool blues, then Main Street Fridays is the event for you! Join all the other music aficionados on Fridays at 5:30PM in NOMA Square to start your weekend in style! This year’s Friday musicfest begins with the powerhouse beach sounds of Jumpstreet on March 22nd. Also in March, enjoy the smooth sounds of Charlotte natives, 5th and York. April plays host to some familiar favorites such as True Blues and Wanda Johnson, as well as some new sounds on the Downtown music scene such as Soul Stew and Hot As A Pepper. Fridays get funky in May with a wealth of righteous local talent – Southern Crescent, Green Vegas, The Jamie Wright Experience, Wine Down and The Groove Planet with Whitney Walters. Hot temps equal hot tunes and there is plenty of both this summer with The Flashbacks, Shades of Brown, The Nightcrawlers and The Swingin’ Richards appearing in June, and The Derrick Dorsey Band, NuSound, 20 Point Turn and Cosmic getting July all hot & bothered. August starts to really rockin’ with The Robbie Ducey Band, Tobacco Road and The Rock & Roll Reunion and The Craig Sorrells Project and The Wiredogs bring on the heat to finish out the month. This much good music can’t just be contained in two seasons, so MSF continues the music experience into September with the wicked swamp rock of the Palmetto Swamp Congregation, the energetic showmanship of Encore, the scaulding hot funky rhythms of Earsight and the wild ride that is The China Bulls finishing up the MSF season with a bang!

These much loved music series’ are completely free and are enjoyed weekly by thousands of music lovers. Beer and other beverages are available for sale, but an ID bracelet as proof of age(for a cost of $1) is required to purchase alcohol. And like most city-sponsored events, families are welcome, but please leave your pets at home. For more information on these events, visit the official city page at See you Downtown!


Well, Downtownies…February 12th is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras. For those who don’t know, it is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40 days of Lent, when traditionally, you give up sweets ( and general frivolity) as a symbol of fasting.  Fat Tuesday (and the weekend before) is a customary time of celebration and decadence and no city does it better than New Orleans.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows of my love for the Crescent City. It is probably the only place with even a chance of ever pulling me away from my beloved Downtown Greenville. This time of year, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic for my “other” city. If you also feel the need to experience Mardi Gras – NOLA style – but can’t make the trip to the Gulf Coast, Downtown Greenville offers a little bit of The Big Easy, right here in the Upstate.

Probably the closest you can come to Bourbon Street without leaving Main Street is Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  Located on South Main, this fun-loving eatery offers some of the best Cajun cooking outside The Quarter. And do they know how to do up Carnival Season! Starting this weekend, Chef Damon has created a special Mardi Gras menu that’ll make you start your own Second Line! They are kicking off the festivities on Saturday with a boisterous Masquerade Ball in their upstairs rooms, with dance music from DJ Apollo, drink specials and all the throw beads you can catch. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Costumes are strongly encouraged. The festivities continue on Fat Tuesday with a party worthy of its own parade krewe. DJ Apollo will return to provide dance music and drink specials and party favors will having you shouting “Throw me somethin’ mister” in no time!

Not to be outdone, Smiley’s Acoustic Café, throws  its own Mardi Gras soiree, that has become nearly legendary in the Greenville music community.  Featuring a casual jam session with members of local faves, The Work, Smley’s is all about “le Bon Temps”! With New Orleans inspired food & drink specials, Moon Pies and throw beads galore, this celebration will make you feel you’re in a rockin’ juke joint in the Treme’!!

Since Mardi Gras is all about “living it up, before giving it up”, a stop by a Downtown bakery on this most  decadent of Tuesdays may be in order. Chocolate Moose on Main,  is the perfect place to indulge in some sweet,  delicious cupcake debauchery! With cupcake flavors in Southern favorites like Red Velvet, French Toast and Bourbon Pecan Pie, your taste buds will be jazzed up big time!

The Mardi Gras festivities may put you in the mood to hear some of the music New Orleans gave birth to. Brown Street Club offers some mighty smooth jazz nightly from Tuesday to Saturday. On the 12th, enjoy the talented trio of Brendan Williamson and friends.  With the cool atmosphere and the hot tunes, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a underground jazz club on Frenchman Street.

So, there you have it Downtownies – lots of ways to experience a little NOLA in the DTGVL! So, let your hair down, kiss a stranger, dance in the street and Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler! See you Downtown!

Well, we’ve made it through 2012…despite the Mayans’ (& others) predictions to the contrary. Now you are looking for ways to ring in 2013 in style. No worries…Downtown Greenville offers several events to help you make this New Year’s Eve an evening to remember!

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues “Blue Year’s Eve” Parties at The Handlebar have taken on an almost mythical status. Nothing welcomes a whole new year quite like the incendiary blues of Mac Arnold and his “juke-joint rockin’” band. This celebrated bassist, who played with the legendary Muddy Waters, can definitely be considered a beloved musical institution here in the Upstate. Joined by his fellow bluesman from Chicago, Mr. Joe Moss, Mac aims to rock in 2013 in style!  Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the genius of this blues icon! Tickets are $16 ($18 for those under 21) and are sale now at The Handlebar. For more information, visit

For a chance to see a blues star in the making, swing on by Mac’s Speed Shop and rock out to the blazing guitar licks of teenaged phenom, Marcus King. This very talented young musician and his band will be ringing in the New Year with some wicked tunes that’ll be impossible to sit still through. This special NYE performance is free to Mac’s customers, and starts at 10PM. For more information, see

Flashback to the 80’s at Wild Wing Café with Greenville’s favorite retro band, Retro Vertigo!  Featuring big hair and sunglasses at night, these sharp dressed men perform everything from The Talking Heads and Devo to REO Speedwagon and Cheap Trick.  For only a $5 cover charge at the door, you too can rock out to…well…U2! There will be drink specials and party favors galore, as well as a free champagne toast at midnight! For details, call 242-9453.

RockHouse Greenville says “Why limit the festivities to just ONE location, when you can have the NYE Bash to end all NYE Bashes at TWO locations?” This year, their New Year’s Eve Party will take place at both Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen, as well as The Lofts at Falls Park. The $20 cover charge will get you a Hollywood-style Red Carpet Arrival, free Champagne toast, pulsating dance music from 2 DJs and drink specials unlike any other club in Greenville. To purchase tickets and for more info, visit

If you prefer to welcome 2013 in a more relaxed, laid-back manner, then head over to Smiley’s Acoustic Café for their Smilin’ New Year’s Eve.  Chill out to the indie tunes of Kelly Jo Connect, followed by those Downtown faves, The Swingin’ Richards. As always, there is no cover charge…just a good time with good people. For more information, see

For those looking for a hot NYE party with some cool jazz, you are in luck! Two of Downtown’s premier jazz clubs are ringing in the New Year in their own stylish manner. High Cotton will be serving a special New Year’s dinner, with music provided by the Jamie Wright Experience. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 335-4200. Not to be outdone, the Brown Street Club will be ushering in 2013 with a little help from the smooth sounds of  Dan Z followed by The Shane Pruitt Band.  For more information or to make reservations, see

For Downtown thespians looking to start 2013 in a dramatic fashion, the Greenville Light Opera Works invites you to join them for their 2013 New Year’s Gala and Fundraiser at Centre Stage. This benefit event for Greenville’s Light Opera Works will feature an open bar, a dessert buffet, dance music provided by Innfusion and both silent and live auctions. Opera and musical theatre lovers will also be treated to a special cabaret performance by Ms. Andrea Leap as well as a sneak peek performance of GLOW’s 2013 season. Tickets for this swanky soiree are $100 per person/ $180 per couple and can be obtained through

So there you have it Downtownies…eight ways to ring in the New Year…to suit every party style and budget. And, as always, if you’ve enjoyed too much revelry of the alcohol-related manner, please take a cab home. We want you around to enjoy all the fun Downtown Greenville has to offer in 2013. Happy New Year!

Just in case you’ve had too much fun, here are numbers to some of the area’s Cab Companies. Please remember that this is their busiest night, so be patient and expect delays …

Yellow Cab – 864-233-6666

Greenville Metro Cab – 864-235-8807

Budget Cab – 864-233-4200

What do a Beauty Pageant where men dress as women, a call to Paint the Town Red, a Concert with some of Greenville’s Best Bluegrass and a bunch of little Rubber Ducks have in common? A week full of fun, all for great causes! This week, some Downtown Greenville venues will play host to 4 fundraisers that are so much fun, it outta be illegal!

The first event is the 5th Annual Womanless Beauty Pageant, hosted by the St. Francis First Mates. On Wednesday, May 2nd, the stage at The Handlebar will be “graced” by the “alluring beauty” of several contestants – who in their “real” lives are not only local physicians, health care providers, business owners and other professionals, but real men!  Dressing the part of the stereotypical beauty queen, and performing various “talents” for your amusement, this group of guys are good sports for a great cause! Funds raised will benefit the local chapter of The American Cancer Society & Relay for Life.  The contestants take the stage at 7:30PM and tickets are on sale now for $15 in advance, $20 at the door. So come on out and have a good laugh at the expense of these brave male souls! For more information, visit The Handlebar’s website at

 The next event is also one of Greenville’s favorite May events – The Red Party. Each year, AID Upstate invites others to “Dine With Friends” as part of their annual fundraising and Aids Awareness campaign. After having dinner with your pals, participants are invited to The Red Party to enjoy drinks at the cash bar and free desserts. Everyone is welcome to attend this year’s Salsa-themed soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 5th. The steel drums and the flowing rum will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $50 donation is requested (and greatly appreciated) at the door. Funds raised will provide supportive services to those Upstate families affected by HIV/AIDS.  For more information on The Red Party, AID Upstate or to participate in “Dining With Friends” visit

The Handlebar steps up again to lend its venue to a great cause!  This Saturday, they will play host to the best in blues, bluegrass and rock n’ rhythm at Musical MAYhem!  Featuring such local gems as Fat Cat Daddy, Neal Carpenter & The Younger Brothers, The Broadcast and Sanctum Sully, this event will set your toes to tappin’ and your tail feathers to shakin’! The show starts at 7PM and benefits Gateway House, a local non-profit that assists adults who are battling mental illness. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

Last but certainly not least on the list is the 2012 Reedy River Duck Derby! Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events takes place Saturday, May 5th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. A mere $5 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $25 and receive 6 ducks for the price of 5 (all to better your chances of victory). The race starts at 2:30PM with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit:

So there you have it – FOUR fantastically fun events that’ll tickle your funny bone, shake your booty and help your neighbors in need – what could be better?  Now all I have to do is find a tiny little jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry! See y’all Downtown!

{December 30, 2011}   Ringing in 2012 DTGVL Style!

It’s that time again…when we say goodbye to the past year and usher in a new one! Time to gather up your friends – both old and new and celebrate 2012! For those looking to ring in the New Year, Downtown Greenville offers a diversity of events that will allow you to bid adieu to 2011 and kickstart 2012 in style!

For many Downtownies, New Year’s offers the opportunity to get dressed up and celebrate with sophistication. Blu Martini invites one and all to “Party Like a VIP” at their red-carpet NYE Bash! Guests are encouraged to “dress to impress” and dance the night away to tunes provided by VJ Rodney. Complimentary Hors D’oeuvres and a midnight champagne toast are all a part of the $20 cover. Reservations are suggested for those desiring a table at this affair, as space is limited.

Looking to Jazz up your New Year? High Cotton will be serving a special New Year’s menu starting at 5:30PM. Local jazz songtress, Tameka Diaz, will grace the stage at 9PM to provide sultry jazz classics as background for your refined evening. Champagne will be provided for your midnight toast. Not to be outdone, Brown Street Club will be ringing in the New Year with not one, but two great jazz acts. Antonio Gambrell will be providing dinner music starting at 6:30PM. Then the good times really start to roll when The Craig Sorrells Project take the stage at 10PM to help you count down to 2012!

Want a little more blues in your New Year? Then head over to The Handlebar for their Blue Year’s Eve with local blues legend, Mac Arnold and his Plate Full O’ Blues. For only $16, guests have to opportunity to experience the genius of a blues guitar master who has performed with the likes of B.B King, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. And don’t worry, free champagne will be provided for your midnight toast.

New Year’s Eve is not only a time to look to the future, but also to relive the past. If you want to time travel back to 1985, Wild Wing Café invites you to “Wing in the New Year” with everyone’s favorite ‘80’s cover band, Retro Vertigo! You can do your best moonwalk into a New Year’s that will be anything but quiet!

Do you want to just kick back and ease into the New Year with some great live music? Downtown Greenville aims to please with a diversity of local talent performing in your favorite venues. The Swingin’ Richards will give you a “Roxxin’” New Year at On The Roxx, The WestEnd String Band will entertain you with their own unique sound at Smiley’s Acoustic Café, Milli Fungus will groove into 2012 at Corner Pocket and Chicora Alley offers a plethora of talent with their power line-up which includes Everlasting Earle, JoJo Taterhead, Red Against Green and King Dixon. That outta put the “Happy” in your New Year!

If you and your friends are looking to shake your thang – then groove with DJ Kenyon (aka Black Caesar) at Nose Dive, sizzle to hot tunes provided by DJ Sizzle at The Basement and rock on with DJ Fred Rock at Liberty Tap Room! That’ll kickstart 2012 big time!

But no matter how you choose to ring in the New Year, please do it safely. If you’ve indulged in too much fun of the alcohol-related sort, PLEASE take a cab home (or have a designated driver). We want you around for many New Years to come. Happy New Year, Y’all!!!

et cetera