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Anyone who knows me knows of the deep, profound love I have for the music genre known as “The Blues”. Some of my earliest (& fondest) memories include sitting with my dad, listening to old, scratchy LP’s of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King…and of course, the great Robert Johnson. But one of my favorite bluesmen was an obscure musician from right here in the Upstate – Pink Anderson. Like many bluesmen, Pink was born in the rural South (Laurens, SC). Often thought of as the “Father of the Piedmont Blues”, he spent most of his career performing with a traveling medicine show and only made a few recordings before being “re-discovered” by young blues enthusiasts in the 1960’s. The art-rock band Pink Floyd was named in his honor (and NC bluesman, Floyd Council).

Downtown Greenville continues to honor its blues heritage with many venues featuring the music genre and many young (and not-so-young) musicians following in Pink’s musical footsteps. One of my favorite events at which to immerse myself in Downtown’s current blues scene is Smiley’s Blues Night at Smiley’s Acoustic Café. Presented by Palmetto Drum Co, this rockin’ bluesfest features some of the best musicians and songwriters our region has to offer. Join other blues fans every Wednesday evening to get schooled in the blues at this free jam session. For more information, visit http://www.smileysacousticcafe.com.

New on the blues scene, but already becoming a Downtown music landmark is Blues Boulevard Jazz. Located in RiverPlace (next to Riverworks Art Gallery), this cozy, intimate club offers some of the best local, regional and national talent anywhere. With live music every Tuesday – Saturday, it’s easy to catch your favorite performing blues and jazz standards, as well as original material, many of whom were regular performers at the now-closed Brown Street Club. For more information and a calendar of events, visit http://bluesboulevardjazzgreenville.com.

If you prefer your blues with a heavy dash of jazz, then High Cotton is the place to be! This “high-steppin’” eatery also features live jazz and blues every weekend, including a Jazz Brunch every Sunday. Featuring smaller trios of musicians, this club will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back into the 1920’s. For more information, visit http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville.

Of course, another great way to catch the very best in Greenville’s blues scene is Main Street Fridays. Spotlighting the kings (and queens) of the blues jazz, with a little funk and soul thrown in for good measure, this free, outdoor concert series is one of Downtown’s most beloved spring/summer events. Join other music lovers every Friday (5:30PM) at NOMA Square to enjoy some wicked blues, swingin’ jazz, cool funk and sultry soul that’ll have you dancing in the streets in no time! For more information (and a band schedule) visit http://www.facebook.com/mainstreetfridays.

So there you have it blues lovers…Downtown Greenville’s certainly got the blues…and how! So, if you’re in the mood for something more than just the regular musical menu of hard rock, pop covers and dance tunes, give the blues a go! You’ll be glad you did!

A Little Something Extra: If you happen to notice any these bands performing at your favorite venue, be sure to catch their performance to really get a taste of the blues:

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues: This local musician is the epitome of the “blues legend”. Former bassist with The Muddy Waters Band, Mac has shared the stage with such blues icons as Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. His new band, Plate Full O’ Blues, infuses new blood into his music, while still retaining its original flavor.

J. Michael King & The Catfish Po’Boys: Regulars at Smiley’s Acoustic Café, these guys truly embrace the Piedmont Blues in a way that is joyful and…well…HAPPY (I know, “happy blues” is definitely an oxymoron). Long time fans of the Greenville music scene may recognize Michael & Joe from their former band, Jellyroll Antennae.

Marcus King (The Marcus King Band): This teen phenom’s guitar licks will blow your socks off! It should come as no surprise that he is the son of another local blues guitar icon, Marvin King. Be sure to catch this guy perform before he becomes a huge star!

Palmetto Swamp Congregation: With a frontman named Wolfman, you just know this band can play the blues. Mixed with a serious dash of Tabasco hot “swamp blues” this band’s music will have you “hootin’ & hollerin’” all night!

Craig Sorrell’s Project: Featuring some seriously funky, New Orleans style jazz, soul & blues, this band has one of the biggest (and most loyal) followings around! Inviting a host of local blues & jazz musicians to sit in, you never know who might be playing at one of their performances.

True Blues: A longtime Greenville favorite, this band offers blues/rock that harkens back to the 1960’s. Referred to a “Greenville’s House Band”, the guys can be regularly seen performing at such local venues and events as The Handlebar and Main Street Friday.

This list is just a taste…there are many more amazingly talented blues and jazz musicians to be found in this area!

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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 www.handlebar-online.com.

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 www.macsspeedshop.com.

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 www.rockhousegreenville.com.

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 www.smileysacousticcafe.com

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 www.brownstreetclub.com.

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 www.greenvilleopera.org.

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



{August 13, 2012}   Goin’ Retro in the DTGVL!

They say everything gets better with age. I think that is doubly true for music! If you find yourself with the urge to take a walk down a musical Memory Lane, then go retro with some of these great events happening this week in Downtown Greenville!

If “big” hair, leg warmers and slouchy, one-shouldered sweaters are your “thing”, then don’t miss this week’s Downtown Alive featuring Retro Vertigo! This high energy, 80’s cover band will have you dancing like a maniac…for sure! Formed by several members of Greenville’s own Seconds Flat, drummer Marlon Slater and bassist Mike Henson, together with  Pat Hindman on guitar, Jim North on keyboards and Anthony Tomlinson on vocals (& cowbell…everything’s better with more cowbell), will take you back to the decade of Ferris Bueller, the Breakfast Club, and MTV. Downtown Alive is absolutely free and takes place 5:30PM Thursday, smack dab in the middle of Main Street – in front of Hyatt Plaza.

If you prefer psychedelic tunes that will take you back to the time of tie-dye, love beads and peace signs, then The Handlebar has TWO groovy concerts that you’ll just dig, man! Starting Friday night (August 17), climb your own “Stairway to Heaven” with ZOSO – The Ultimate Led Zepplin Experience. Drawing Zep fans of all ages, critics agree that this band is “the closest to the original” (Chicago Sun-Times), with their eerily accurate portrayal of Plant, Page, Bonham & Jones. Come see why ZOSO is considered by most to be the “gold standard of Led” when the band takes stage at 9PM. Tickets are $13 ($2 extra for fans under 21) and are on sale at The Handlebar. For more information, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

Saturday evening (August 18) takes you back to a time of Peace, Love & Music with Palmetto Drum Co’s latest offering in their Psychedelic Series of concerts – “Woodstock Revisited”. Great local talent such as Moxie, Deadly Crank Dogs, Kelly Jo, Leslie Smith, Matt Morgan & Friends, The Jaywalkers and True Blues will lead you on a psychedelic journey through the music of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, The Grateful Dead and more!  The tunes will start at 8PM and continue until Freddie tells everyone to go home! Tickets are $10 and are on sale now at The Handlebar. Like most in the Psychedelic Series of concerts, proceeds will benefit a local charity, the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners.  For more information, visit www.palmettomusic.com.

Travel back to the time of bobby socks, pony tails and The King with the Greenville Little Theatre’s production of “Shake, Rattle & Roll”. Back by popular demand, Scot Bruce and “the boys” are back with their electrifying tribute to Elvis for one week only! Opening night is Thursday, August 16 at 8PM, with 8PM shows on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18. There is also a Sunday matinee at 3PM on the 19th. Tickets range in price from $20 (for children) to $30 (for adults) and are on sale at the Little Theatre’s box office or online at http://www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.  Catch it now before Elvis has left the building!

So, whether you’re a Valley Girl, a Hippie, or a Cool Cat, there’s something going on Downtown to take you back in time! And you don’t even need a souped-up DeLoren! Stay Groovy, Downtownies!

In Case You Missed It…

  • Retro Vertigo at Downtown Alive: Thursday, August 16 at 5:30PM until 8-ishPM, on Main Street in front of the Hyatt Plaza. Cost: FREE. For more info, visit www.greenvillesc.gov
  • ZOSO – The Ultimate Led Zepplin Experience:  Friday, August 17 – 9PM at The Handlebar (304 E Stone Avenue). Tickets are $13 ($2 extra for under 21). For more info, visit www.handlebar-online.com
  • Woodstock Revisited – A Psychedelic Series Concert:  Saturday, August 18 – 8PM at The Handlebar (304 Stone Avenue). Tickets are $10, with proceeds benefitting the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners. Presented by Palmetto Drum Company. For more info, visit www.palmettomusic.com
  • “Shake, Rattle & Roll” – Thursday, August 16 through Saturday, August 18 at 8PM and Sunday, August 19 at 3PM at The Greenville Little Theatre (Heritage Green – College Street). Tickets are $20 for children, $30 for adults. For more info, visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org

 



If you are one of many who saw this year’s blockbuster movie, The Hunger Games, you would know that the rich traditional music of the Appalachians featured throughout the soundtrack was almost as central to the plot as the characters themselves. One song in particular, Daughter’s Lament, truly embodied the haunting depths of the main character, Katniss Everdeen. This weekend, the trio who wrote and performed that poignant melody, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, will grace the stage of The Handlebar in Downtown Greenville.

Bursting on the music scene with their Grammy-Award winning Genuine Negro Jig in 2010, the Carolina Chocolate Drops have brought back the old-style fiddle and banjo based music that has long been a part of the Piedmont region.  Striving to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, this trio also strives to highlight the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. After researching styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—including string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz – they shape it into a melody that can best be described as a “living, breathing, ever-evolving” work of musical art.

 

Mastering an eclectic assortment of instruments, including 5-string, minstrel & plectrum banjo, quills (a small African-American panpipe), snare drum, bones and the unlikely addition of the cello and the kazoo and coming from different worlds, the group has somehow managed to draw on their differences to create a sound that melds together perfectly. North Carolina native, Rhiannon Giddens, the daughter of a classically-trained singer, was also herself a classically trained opera singer. Long fascinated by folk and bluegrass, this talented songbird taught herself how to play the fiddle before joining a Celtic band.  Upon reading about legendary fiddler, Joe Thompson, Rhiannon joined him after a performance for an impromptu jam session and her interest was sparked. Partnering with Dom Flemons, a banjo player and poet from Arizona and guitarist Hubby Jenkins from NYC, the Carolina Chocolate Drops were born.

This Friday, July 13th The Handlebar will play host to this talented trio of artists. Tickets are $16 ($2 more for those under 21) and are available at the venue for their 9PM performance. Come see why critics are raving over this iconic band and experience the sublime sounds that got them invited to Carnegie Hall to perform with the likes of Taj Mahal, Art Garfunkel and Jackson Browne…you’ll be glad you did!

For more information on “The Drops”, visit the official webpage at http://www.carolinachocolatedrops.com

For more information on this show and others at The Handlebar, visitwww.handlebar-online.com



“Music legend” is a label that sometimes gets handed out too often. But in the case of Upstate native, Mac Arnold, the title is certainly more than well deserved. From his early days of playing a homemade guitar to his work with his current band, Plate Full O’ Blues, Mac has been a virtual shaman in this most southern of music genre. Fans and followers will have the chance this weekend to pay homage and see him in action at The Handlebar.

Those who knew Mac as a youngster must have had some inkling that this man’s music resume would read like a “Who’s Who” of blues, rock and R&B legends. Learning to play guitar on an instrument his brother made from a gas can, Mac went on in high school to form his own band, which included none other than the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. After a stint with The Charles Miller Band, Mac left the southland in 1965 forChicagoto work with celebrated sax man, A.C. Reed. A year later, at the age of 24, Mac was playing bass for the legendary Muddy Waters and sharing the stage with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. Backstage, Mac was often found jamming with the rock stars of the day – including Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop (It was rumored that guitar god, Jimi Hendrix was inspired by Muddy’s band).

After more than a year with Muddy, Mac ventured out on his own to form The Soul Invaders, playing back-up for such acts as The Temptations and B.B. King. Following a trip to South California (and falling in love with the mild weather), Mac moved to L.A. where he worked with TV innovators such as Don Cornelius of “Soul Train” and comedian Redd Foxx (that familiar bass line on the “Sanford & Son” theme was performed by Mac), as well as R&B artists such as Bill Withers.  But the call of his home town was too strong and Mac returned toSouth Carolinato retire on his farm in the 1980’s.

It was a chance encounter with a singing mechanic that brought Mac back to the blues. Max Hightower has had a longtime love for anything relating to the blues. After wearing out a second hand copy of “Muddy’s Mississippi Live”, he decided to pursue a career in music. Following a few years of bouncing from band to band and stage to stage, Max was working at a trucking company when in walked one of his blues heroes. After many a deep conversations with the fellow musician, Mac decided it was time he came out of retirement. With the addition of Austin Brashier on guitar, Dan Keylon on bass, Mike Whitt on drums and, of course, Max on keyboard and harmonica, Plate Full O’ Blues was born.

Mac came back to blues like a man starving for a good meal. With several albums and music DVD’s to date, tours that have spanned the USand Europeand praise from music critics from all walks, Mac and Plate Full O’ Blues have certainly proven that they’re here to stay! This Saturday, the 28th they’re back at one of their favorite venues, The Handlebar, for their 6th Annual Cornbread and Collard Greens Festival. The band takes the stage starting at 8PM until Mac decides it’s time for y’all to head on home! Tickets are on sale now at The Handlebar for $14 ($2 extra for those under 21). If you buy a $20 ticket, you get some down-homeCarolina cookin’ to enjoy before the show! So, head on out to The Handlebar this weekend for some smokin’ hot blues from a man who will certainly be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame one day! See you there!



{March 27, 2012}   All The World’s A Stage…

As Southerners, we do tend to have a flair for the dramatic. Many acclaimed actors and actresses, playwrights and other creatives hail from the South. Not one to be left out, Downtown Greenville boasts a wonderful theatre community that strives to keep this tradition alive.

Perhaps the best theatre to start with is the Greenville Little Theatre  (www.greenvillelittletheatre.org). As the oldest venue for live theatre in Greenville, GLT has been the “jumping off point” for many successful thespians, including Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward. This cornerstone of the creative community is well-known for its performances of classic works by well-known playwrights, including Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park”, opening April 6th. Stick around after the performance for the budget friendly “Studio 444”. For only $8, theatre goers are treated to short, PG-13 plays performed by their resident improv troupe, The Laughing Stock.  To encourage the acting bug in others, the theatre also offers acting classes every summer for adults, teens and children. Greenville Little Theatre is located at Heritage Green, near the Art Museum.

Young thespians can earn their acting chops at The South Carolina Children’s Theatre (http://scchildrenstheatre.org). With the goal of bringing wonder and excitement to the stage through family-friendly entertainment, SCCT offers an array of shows for every age and attention span. Five main presentations take place at The Peace Center, including the upcoming “Go Dog, Go, which premieres April 27th. For more of a “hands-on” approach to theatre, SCCT also performs small, less formal plays at their Augusta Street location as part of their “2nd Stage” program, with the delightful piece, “The Arkansas Bear” running until April 1st. Not to be forgotten, tiny tots also have the chance to experience the theatre with “Tell Me A Story” – short 30 minute performances every Monday and Tuesday, which based on popular books. For those wishing to be onstage, SCCT launched its Theatre Arts Conservatory, a year-round program for students ages 3 – 18. The format includes Exploration, Process, Production, and Intensive Training Classes and Workshops and offers unique games, activities and challenges for the theatre student.

A favorite of West End theatre lovers is The Warehouse Theatre (www.warehousetheatre.com).  Located in a converted warehouse (hence the name), this fine mix of emerging talents, local professionals and artists from around the country have been performing “intense, intimate and unexpected” live productions for over 3 decades. From re-envisioned classics to some of the most cutting edge new works, WHT boasts the sort of theatre you can’t see anywhere else inSouth Carolina’s Upstate region. As an eclectic “side dish” to their main performances, The Warehouse also offers “Improv with The Distracted Globe” for only $5. In a summer event that has helped make Greenville a thespian vacation destination, WHT also plays host to The Upstate Shakespeare Festival. This free, annual event takes place in Falls Parks throughout the summer months and presents the magic of Shakespeare in a charming, outdoor setting.

Located on River Street, another West End favorite is Centre Stage (http://centrestage.org), whose mission since 1983 has been to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. Offering not only a season filled with music, comedy and drama (“Hairspray” opens April 12th), Centre Stage also hosts art exhibitions (they have an in-house art gallery), chamber music concerts with The Greenville Symphony, independent film screenings, guest lectures, galas and other special events. Aficionados of comic opera will enjoy Greenville Light Opera Works – which is definitely not your daddy’s opera. Each Fall, Centre Stage presents its New Play Festival, a free and open to the public week-long event which givesGreenville audiences the opportunity to hear five exciting new plays by up-and-coming playwrights. And this April, Centre Stage’s state-of-the-art performance facility will play host to Comedy Centre, a stand-up comedy competition sure to banish any lingering winter blues!

 If your funny bone is still in need of tickling – and you like a little dinner with your theatre – look no further than Café and Then Some (www.cafeats.com). Bubba and Norma Jean (aka proprietors, Bill and Susan Smith) invite you to join them for a little folksy satire, served up with a side of home-grown humor and some country vittles! With original shows performed nightly Wednesday through Saturday, CATS offers entertainment unlike anything you’ll find in Greenville…or anywhere else for that matter!  Come on by their location, just off Main Street, ‘round the corner from that fancy ‘ol Blu Martini, to set a spell…and catch their current production of “Life After Oprah”.  You’ll be glad you did!

If you want to be more than just a spectator, Downtown Greenville’s theatres also offer the chance to audition for upcoming performances and to volunteer to help out with productions. Just check their websites for more information. You never  know, we might have another future Oscar-winner out there waiting to be discovered!

Who says you have to go all the way to NYC to see good theatre, when we have it right here in the DTGVL! Make plans to sample a little local creative talent next time you are Downtown. You might just like the drama of it all!



When the days get longer and the temps warm up, Downtown Greenville “springs” into action with a flurry of great outdoor events. Everything from outdoor concerts and movie screenings, to farmer’s markets and festivals…DTGVL has a little something for everyone!  And the best thing? Most of them are FREE! So, round up your family and friends and head Downtown for a little fun in the sun!

March kicks things off with two of Downtown’s favorite concert events: Downtown Alive and Main Street Fridays. Chosen as one of the Best Places to Hear Free Live Music by fans of the Downtown Greenville, SC Facebook Page, Downtown Alive takes place every Thursday around 5:30PM at the Hyatt Plaza. Featuring some of the best musical talent the Upstate (and beyond) has to offer, this year’s concert series starts March 15th with a performance by local favorite, Kelly Jo Connect.  Not to be outdone, Main Street Fridays (which shares DTA’s Main Street venue and 5:30 timeslot), gets Downtown groovin’ on March 16th with the sweet funky sounds of Chocolate Thunder.  These free concerts continue until late August / September and are the music lover’s ritual that signals the start of the weekend.

April sees not only the continuation of DTA & MSF, but also Greenville’s very first International Film Festival. The goal of this multi-day event is to unite film enthusiasts and filmmakers from around the world to display the power of visual storytelling, creative excellence, and imagination of independent filmmaking. The event begins April 25th and continues until the 28th. Several Downtown locations will share hosting duties including Coffee Underground, ZEN, Centre Stage and The Kroc Center. Martial Arts and Eastern philosophy enthusiasts may enjoy taking part in World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on April 28th. This special event, held at Falls Park, will celebrate, demonstrate and educate the public on Tai Chi and Qigong. If your life’s philosophy includes BBQ, then you will not want to miss Project Host’s BBQ Festival on April 27th and 28th. Pulled pork aficionados will gather on Broad Street for a fun-filled festival with entertainment, crafts, cooking competitions and best of all…BBQ! Be sure to bring your appetite!

DTGVL’s calendar really revs up in May with a smorgasbord of fun! The merriment begins May 2 with Moonlight Movies. Featuring everything from family favorites like “The Muppet Movie” to nostalgic cinema classics such as “An American in Paris”, everyone from Grandma to the kids will find a film they like. Screenings take place every Wednesday in May around 8PM and due to the construction at The Peace Center, will happen in a new Falls Park location this year. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcomed (and fun), but like most City-sponsored events, pets are prohibited.

The first weekend in May will also see the return of the Saturday Market. This outdoor farmers’ market, features locally grown, farm-fresh foods as well as locally grown crafts, and begins May 5th at its long-time location on Court Street. Like the name implies, The Saturday Market takes place every Saturday from 8AM until noon and will run until October. Also taking place Downtown on May 5th is The Reedy River Rubber Duck Derby. This delightful annual event, featuring a river full of cute, little yellow rubber duckies, benefits local charities.

Thespians will be thrilled with two sophisticated events occurring in the month of May. Artisphere, one of Downtown Greenville’s premier festivals, takes place the weekend of the 11th through the 13th. Featuring the works of visual artists from all over the country, this art fest is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Although the artwork is the highlight of this event, festival goers can enjoy a diverse selection of food and beverage and as well as experience the musical talents of local bands performing on a number of stages. Fans of the Bard will be happy to hear that Shakespeare in the Park will be starting up again on May 24th. Every Thursday – Sunday evening, Falls Park will play host to the enchanting works of William Shakespeare (with a modern twist) performed by a troupe of talented actors.  Audience participation is welcomed and very much encouraged.

If you’re looking for entertainment with an ethnic flavor, May offers two fun-filled festivals featuring the cultures of Greece and Scotland. Craving baklava? Then head over to St. George Greek Orthodox Church May 17th through 20th for the Greenville Greek Festival. Don’t miss this chance  to experience everything Greek with Greenville’s Greek Community! Mad for plaid? Then Greenville’s Scottish Games are just the thing that’ll make your kilt twirl! Starting with the Great Scot Parade down Main Street and ceilidh (that’s Gaelic for party) on May 25th, the good times continue with The Games at Furman on the 26th.

In recent years, Greenville has become a mecca for cyclists and cycle enthusiasts. Once again, Downtown Greenville will place host to USA Cycling Pro Championship Road Race on the 28th, with time trials taking place on the 26th. Some streets along the race route may be temporarily closed or blocked off on the day of the race.

So, you see, there is absolutely no excuse to sit at home on the beautiful Spring days for which our area is famous. Call your friends, grab your sunglasses and head Downtown to savor all that Greenville has to offer! See you there!



It’s March, and to the Irish and the “Wish-They-Were-Irish, that means the “Greenest” of all holidays is just around the corner. DTGVL really knows how to do St. Paddy’s Day up right – after all, we are GREEN-ville! So if you’re looking to eat some corned beef and cabbage, dance a jig, drink green beer or just hang out with some guys named Patrick, here’s some fun ways to shake your shamrocks!

On Sunday, March 11th, the Irish Cara Club invites you to “Return to the Green“. To many in Greenville’s Irish community, this céilidh (that’s Gaelic for party) signals the start of a whirlwind of St. Paddy’s celebrations. With Irish step dancers, Irish music from the Greenville Pipes & Drum Corps among others, authentic Irish food, the ever-popular selection of domestic and Irish beer and more Irish accents (both real and faked) than you can shake a Shillelagh at, this much-loved festival is fun for all ages. This year’s event takes place at Fluor Field (in the West End) and festivities begin at 1PM (until 6PM). For more info, visit their website at www.returntothegreensc.com.

Don your green apparel and join other Celtic Greenvillians  on March 15th for a St. Patrick’s Irish Pride Walk along Main Street. Sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hiberians, this short sidewalk stroll from  Piazza Bergamo to City Hall (and back) honors Ireland’s culture and beloved patron saint. This mini-parade begins at 11:30AM and all are welcome to participate.

On March 17th, many smiling Irish eyes  are turned toward Court Street and The Blarney Bash. For over a decade, this street party has been THE St. Patrick’s Day event! Located in front of Connolly’s Irish Pub, this shamrock soiree entertains with Irish step dancers, live music and, of course, great quantities of Guinness! The Pub itself invites you to sit back, partake in a pint and enjoy some great live music. Best of all, this is not only a guaranteed good time, but it’s also for a good cause – donations will be collected for area food pantries. Outdoor activities are open to all ages and music starts at 4PM (until 10PM) , but the pub is open only to over 21’s and a cover charge may apply.

If your St. Pat’s plans lean more toward less “saintly” entertainment, then DTGVL has something for you too. On March 10th,  The Greenville Derby Dames invite all brave souls to their “Saints Pilgrimage: Bangers VS Smash” Pub Crawl. Starting at Sharkey’s Pub at 7PM, these roller derby damsels will “spirit” you away to City Tavern, DT’s Tavern, Blue Ridge Brewery and Wild Wing Cafe to sample the alcohol-laden side of Celtic culture. For more info, visit http://www.facebook.com/events/248630608546078.  If you can’t make it on the 10th, no worries. Sharkey’s Pub asks “Who’s Your Paddy?” with their annual Bar Bus Tour on Friday, the 16th. Festivities start at 6:30PM at Sharkey’s Pub and the bus rolls out from there. That outta have you seeing leprechauns!

Not Downtown, but nearby, are two  excellent pubs in which to raise a pint to toast the Emerald Isle. The Irish Pub, located on Pleasantburg – and owned and operated by an Irish guy named Patrick (really!) – throws the grandaddy of all Irish parties!  With live Irish music, complete with pipers and step dancers, and authentic Irish food and drink, this party celebrates all things Irish (hey, even the bartenders are Irish)! Not to be outdone, Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub on Laurens Road throws an killer céilidh as well. Offering food and drink specials and live music, this pub is definitely worth checking out!

As you can see, Greenville offers many ways to get your Irish on! So, pull on that “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt and your shamrock sunglasses, dye your hair green and head Downtown to Party with St. Paddy! But, however you decide to celebrate, have fun and be safe! Erin Go Braugh!



et cetera