Memorial Day Weekend signals the start of a special time in the Greenwood area for folks who love festivals ... and more importantly, for music lovers.
Starting with the Catfish Feastival in Ware Shoals this coming weekend, the Greenwood area will be home to some incredible music, if the past holds true. June has the South Carolina Festival of Flowers in Greenwood, which has multiple musical elements that surely will have something for everybody’s tastes. In July, the South Carolina Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise brings a variety of blues performers to town. Sandwiched between Flowers and Discovery is the Festival of Stars in Ninety Six.
I’m not just talking about regionally or nationally recognized performers. We do have some incredibly talented performers right here in the Lakelands.
The Catfish Feastival is Thursday through Saturday and will have a good example of local and regional music. All but the Blues Cruise is a mix of local and non-local performers.
Gal Friday Band and Alec Bailey perform Friday and Carolina Coast Band with Rhonda McDaniel headline Saturday in Ware Shoals. Gal Friday Band, out of Charlotte, plays a mix of country, southern rock and newgrass. Bailey also is from the Charlotte area. Carolina Coast Band is from Williamston and plays beach and party music. Performing with Carolina Coast Band in Ware Shoals is Rhonda McDaniel the reigning six-time Carolina Beach Music Academy female vocalist of the year. She’s not to be missed.
Find out about the Catfish Feastival at www.catfishfeastival.net.
The Festival of Flowers annually has brought well-known talent in for the Bluegrass concert, which this year will be on Oregon Avenue in Uptown Greenwood. Headlining the June 21 concert is The Rambling Rooks with opener Adkins and Loudermilk.
Also performing during the Festival of Flowers is Greenwood’s own Brown Sugar Substitute for the Uptown Live “Flower Power” Concert on June 19 and the Greenwood Festival Chorale performance of “America: Land That I Love” on June 10.
Learn more about the Festival of Flowers at www.scfestivalofflowers.org.
The Festival of Stars on June 27-28 brings one of the area’s most favorite bands back to where it got its start. On June 27, The Swingin’ Medallions return to Ninety Six to open the festival. The concert in the park is within a stone’s throw from the homes where many of the original members lived and the building where founder John McElrath would bring the boys together to practice years ago.
Also on the Festival of Stars schedule are The Night Affair, Bless Yer Heart, Clay Page Band and Fred Engler and the Troubleshooters.
Visit www.townofninetysixsc.com for more on the Festival of Stars.
The Blues Cruise, which the Index-Journal sponsors, is equally as popular as the barbecue competition and food fest that is the Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned Festival of Discovery, which is July 12-14. Gary Erwin, who performs as Shrimp City Slim, is music coordinator for the Blues Cruise. He continues to out-do himself each year by bringing national and international performers to town.
There are three days of blues starting with the Uptown Live concert July 12.

Erwin suggests everyone give the blues a chance and make an effort to see some of the performers, because with an open ear and a little luck, you might just find something to your liking. That’s a great suggestion and you’d be surprised how much this happens.
I had been wanting to see Gail Storm perform in the past, but never made it. That changed last year when I caught her at Uptown Sushi. The eatery was not crowded when the piano player performed. It was like she was performing a private show. She took requests and played songs she might not have otherwise. She was amazing, as sweet as could be and very accommodating. She does a killer version of “Route 66.” I’ve got her on my radar again this year.
Visit www.festivalofdiscovery.com for more on the Blues Cruise.
In between the festivals, everyone has a chance to sample the local talent. Most local bands and performers regularly take to the stage at bars, clubs and restaurants in Uptown Greenwood and beyond. Stop in to hear the bands, you might become its newest fan, and that’s a good thing.
Sitarz can be reached at 864-943-2529 or via email at jsitarz@indexjournal.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.