2013 ENTERTAINMENT HIGHLIGHTS                                                                                         

Boat Parade on the May River and Blessing of the Fleet
Join us for the annual blessing of the fleet Sunday, Oct. 13th at 4:00 on the bluff of the May River at The Church of the Cross. Assistant to the Rector at The Church of the Cross, Jonathan Riddle will bless the boats on the river. Pack a picnic lunch, sit back and listen to the music of Lavon Stevens on the bluff, while watching the boats receive their blessings.  
Al Stokes has been honored by the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival as this year’s Admiral of the Fleet.  Admiral Al will lead the Board Parade and Blessing of the Fleet on the May River during the opening ceremonies of the Ninth Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival on Sunday, October 13 at 4:00pm.  In addition, he will host Monday night’s event, Dinner & Learn Tour at Waddell Mariculture Center at 5:30 PM October 14.

Our Admiral is well deserving of this honor.  He is the Manager/Wildlife Biologist IV of the Waddell Mariculture Center located in Greater Bluffton and has been employed by the SCDNR for more than 35 years. The James M. Waddell Research and Development Center, one of the country's largest and most sophisticated facilities for mariculture research, sits on 1,200 acres on Victoria Bluff, with frontage on the Colleton River and miles of hiking trails.  It was constructed in 1983-84 to develop propagation and farming techniques for marine and brackish water species of finfish, mollusks, crustaceans and plants.   . In addition to developing techniques for commercial aquaculture, the center produces juvenile fish for use in fishery management and stock evaluation by the Marine Resources Division.

Over the years the center has released millions of cobia, spotted sea trout, red drum and striped bass into waters in Beaufort and Charleston counties, along with conducting extensive research such as the effects of storm water on Beaufort County’s sensitive saltwater marsh. In addition, WMC provides tours of the facility several times each week and in this past May alone welcomed over 100 students to its various programs.  

Join Admiral Al Stokes at this year’s Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, October 13 – 20, 2013!

Lavon Stevens
Lavon Stevens is known for his Soulful Jazz, Contemporary and Blues music. A native of Savannah, Ga. Lavon began singing and playing piano at the age of 7. He began performing in local groups across the Southeast at the age of thirteen. His first instrument was the violin. He later studied voice and piano at Dekalb College in Atlanta, Ga. from 1979 to 1983.

He has traveled and performed all over the country including Aspen,Co., Atlanta, Ga. and Orlando, Fla. The resort vacation destination of Hilton Head Island, SC has been his home since 1981. He is one of the premier entertainers in Hilton Head Island, SC. Lavon is affiliated with BMI as a Publisher/Songwriter.

He serves on the board as a member of The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and is one of the music producers for The Native Island Gullah Festival. He is very active with The Junior Jazz Foundation at The Jazz Corner and he is also a member of the Circle of Songs organization. His CD "I See Love" was released in 1996 and features all original compositions. He is producing a variety of shows and recording projects including other R&B, Jazz, and Gospel artists.

This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch on the bluff of the May River and be entertained by the music and boat parade. What better way to begin our festival! Plan to join us at 4:00 PM on the grounds of The Church of the Cross at the end of Calhoun Street for a memorable time.

Author Night
We are excited to welcome New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry to the Bluffton Arts & Seafood Author Night 2014! Patti Callahan Henry will talk to us about her newest release The Stories We Tell and her book, And Then I Found You, set in Bluffton. Henry has spent time in Bluffton and knows about our special "heart of the lowcountry". 

New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry has published nine novels: Losing the Moon, Where the River Runs, When Light Breaks, Between the Tides, The Art of Keeping Secrets, Driftwood Summer, The Perfect Love Song, Coming up for Air, And Then I Found You and her newest release, The Stories We Tell: A Novel. Hailed as a fresh new voice in southern fiction, Henry has been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and nominated four different times for the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Novel of the Year. Her work is published in five languages and in audiobook by Brilliance Audio.

Henry has appeared in numerous magazines including Good Housekeeping, skirt! magazine, South magazine, and Southern Living. Two of her novels were Okra Picks and Coming up For Air was selected for the August 2011 Indie Next List. A full time writer, wife, and mother of three—Henry lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

Patti Callahan Henry grew up in Philadelphia, the daughter of an Irish minister, and moved south with her family when she was 12 years old. With the idea that being a novelist was “unrealistic,” she set her sights on becoming a pediatric nurse, graduating from Auburn University with a degree in nursing, and from Georgia State with a Master’s degree in Child Health. She left nursing to raise her first child, Meagan, and not long after having her third child, Rusk, she began writing down the stories that had always been in her head. Henry wrote early in the mornings, before her children woke for the day, but it wasn’t until Meagan, then six, told her mother that she wanted “to be a writer of books” when she grew up, that Henry realized that writing was her own dream as well. She began taking writing classes at Emory University, attending weekend writers’ conferences, and educating herself about the publishing industry, rising at 4:30 AM to write. Her first book, Losing the Moon, was published in 2004.

Playing on the May. We have some exciting new events scheduled for this  year, right on our own May River. Helping coordinate and plan these events are three avid "watermen": Capt. Chris Shoemaker, Roddy Medders and Eric Burns.

Capt. Chris Shoemaker is a second generation waterman and Bluffton Native.  Spending his youth on his father's shrimp trawler opened his eyes to the river culture of the May. Now owner of May River Excursions, Capt. Chris brings his knowledge of shrimping, crabbing, fishing and local history to anyone that wants to join him. 


Roddy Medders
is a Lowcountry native. Originally from Beaufort, Roddy ended up in Bluffton as a personal fitness instructor. Upon finding a passion with stand-up paddling he founded Stand and Paddle and now leads tours on the May River. Roddy is a competitive racer in the 14' division and often places in the upper tier of most events. Always looking for more training time, he serves the water community by offering top notch paddle board instruction. 

Roddy Medders is an avid stand up paddle boarder who is passionate about spreading his enthusiasm for this rapidly growing sport. Between providing lessons and guided tours and competitive racing, he works to promote the sport all across the Southeastern United States.

Spending summers here since the late 70's, Eric Burns considers himself to be a local waterman.  Although not native, his extended native family taught him to harvest the local waters at an early age and has since been a guide in the local waters for twenty plus years.  Previously a 50 ton Captain in the surrounding waters, Eric has returned to Bluffton to promote paddle sports through MarshgrassAdventures.com.  In previous years, Eric has promoted the kids fishing tournament for our festival and is now bringing competitive paddling and eco-paddling to the local waters. 


Reid Richmond’s musical journey began in Cary, NC. With his two best friends from 5th grade and his brother Kevin, “Capital Funds” was formed. Their first performance at a 7th grade talent show convinced Reid that he was doing what he was meant to do. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the girls were screaming.

When he was contacted by an old friend to fill in on some gigs in Hilton Head, SC he fell instantly in love with the beauty of the place. The gigs are plentiful and life is good. Reid has become the busiest solo entertainer in the area and loves the island life. He still writes and keeps an eye toward Nashville and plans to return some day. But for now, he is rockin’ his solo show and entertaining all types of crowds with his very eclectic song list. He moves effortlessly from tender ballads, to crowd rousing sing-alongs, to your favorite song. So stop by to see Reid Richmond return again this year; Stage 2 from 1:30 - 4:00pm on Sunday, October 20th.

Spike Ivory has crafted his unique sound and style by drawing on many influences through the years.  Spike played many of the instruments heard on his debut album and put a very personal stamp on each song. The resulting sound and amazing energy were felt through the live shows as Spike Ivory and his newly formed band began touring.
After the release of The Velvet Chains CD in 2005, the band toured many intimate sized venues and played more than 225 shows all over the USA, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Canada and Asia!
Spike recently signed with the New LowCountry Music Label.  His new Single “Rollin’ Thunder” (a tribute to our Troops and Military Vets past and present) has been gaining momentum on many radio stations across the states.Spike is currently scheduled to release an EP featuring Rollin’ Thunder along with 3 other tracks in September, followed by a full length album. You can see Spike Ivory on Sunday, October 13th for the Oyster Fest at the Oyster Factory from 5:00 - 8:00pm and then again on Saturday, October 19th, Main Stage from 3:00 - 5:00pm!

The Chilly Willy Band has been entertaining audiences in the Low Country for over twenty five years and we are happy to have them back for the Arts & Seafood Festival this year! Their unique up-tempo blend of blues and swing is designed for audiences of all ages. Incorporating many styles of Blues music enables the band to fit into any musical situation while maintaining sound crowds have enjoyed for years. Enjoy The Chilly Willy Band on Saturday, October 19th, Stage 3, from 2:30 - 5:00pm.

The Mike Gabriel Bulldog Blues Band, featured at our festival again in 2013, is made up of local Bluffton & Hilton Head musicians, Bryan Baker- Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals & 5 string Banjo; Mike Gabriel - Guitar, & Vocals; and John Sturm - Blues Harmonica, Mandolin, Spike Jones Washboard & Vocals. "We got big city and back country, Uptown & Down Home. We play American roots music going back as far as the 1920's & 30's when String Bands and Jug Bands delighted  the denizens of Juke Joints, Fish Frys and  Rent parties, as well as the passersby, strolling the streets of the deep South. Picking it up with the changing times, we can pull-out some Texas Swing  from the 1940's, and even some Bluegrass. In all of the music we play, we never  stray far from the basis of all roots music - the low-down, dirty, Blues." This is a sound you won't want to miss! Catch the act Saturday, October 19th, Stage 3, from 10:00am - 12:15pm.

Jordan Ross, born and raised in a northern state, Jordan developed an early need for the escape that is music.  His ability to feed off the energy of others provided him the opportunity to perform for groups large (20,000) and small (Capt. Woody's). 

Now nine years in, Jordan has created a following of locals and tourists alike in the Lowcountry.  His live shows are laid-back and all-request. Come to a show prepared to get involved. Jordan will be on Stage 3 Saturday, October 19th, from 12:45 - 2:15pm.

Bill DuPont dubbed "The Blues Man" is a local entertainer from Jasper County, South Carolina.  He has been singing professionally for more than thirty years.  He has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Frogman Henry from New Orleans, LA and Roy C from Allendale, SC just to name a few.  He performed with his own band, The New Project for over ten years, but since then he performs as a single act.  He currently performs at several venues in the Lowcountry. Throughout his career, he has traveled across America and still travels for the love of his profession. Bill provides a variety of music from jazz to blues, R&B and country as well as show tunes.  f you want to listen to the howlin' of the wolf (Howlin' Wolf), the blues of Muddy Waters, and the softness of Al Green, you have got to listen to "The Blues Man" sing. Check out Bill's act Sunday, October 20th from 11:00am - 1:15pm on Stage 3!

Lee Tyler Post is a National Touring & Recording Artist whose style is a mix of Acoustic Soul, Roots Rock Americana & Southern Blues. His lyrics convey stories of everyday people. The San Diego Troubadour wrote, “...Post’s sound is as much Springsteen and Van Morrison as it is Otis Redding and Al Green: blue-collar heartland grit mixed with Motor City soul...” Lee calls it “Rock ‘N’ Soul.”
Starting out as a San Diego-based artist in the mid ‘90s, Lee has opened for Missing Persons, Blink 182, Steppenwolf, and was an annual performer at the San Diego County (Del Mar) Fair. Followed were live local TV appearances on The KUSI & KNSD Morning Shows. In 1999 Lee relocated to Nashville, TN where he honed his craft playing alongside such greats as, Grammy nominated hit songwriter Tony Lane, at the renowned "Broken Spoke Saloon."
Having been tagged "The Gypsy Troubadour", Post tours the US extensively, performing 150+ shows a year, while driving 25,000+ miles annually. Along the way he has released 6 studio albums, lived/performed in cities like Austin, Nashville, Seattle, Los Angeles, Asheville, San Diego, Atlanta and Santa Fe, as well as performed live on many TV and Radio Programs. His live shows have been described as “passionate, powerful and moving.” And his down-to-earth on-stage persona complements his dynamic voice and electrifying shows.
Always eager to lend his time and talents to charitable causes, Lee has performed at benefits for M.A.D.D., the M.S. Society, and The Ramona Cancer Resource Center. As well as at benefit fundraisers for camps for seriously ill children, The Victory Junction Gang Camp owned by Kyle Petty, the racecar driver, and Bikers Who Care/Toys for Tots to help underprivileged children. Lee currently resides in the SC LowCountry where he is finishing his next release, "Wreckage of Love". Catch his act on Saturday, Oct. 19 on Stage 2, from 12:00 - 2:30pm!

Nick Primiano
 has been a resident of Hilton Head for the past four years. Originally from New York and New Jersey, he has been playing and performing for many years. He currently plays local venues on Hilton Head, Bluffton and Habersham in Beaufort. His music covers a wide spectrum from folk, blues, light jazz, rock and a little reggae. Nick is one of the guitar instructors at John’s Music on Hilton Head Island. Nick will be entertaining crowds on Saturday, October 19 from 10:00 - 11:30am on Stage 3.                

Let the Party Begin with Bam Jazz, Sunday morning, October 20th, from 11:00am - 1:15pm on the Main Stage! Some of the best Jazz Blues Cajun Latin Reggae R&B Beach Worldbeat Swing and more - with a New Orleans feel. The Gumbo Kings of Jazz and Blues - The Professors of that Gulf Coast Rhythm & Groove - Whispering Smooth Ballads from the Greats - Steaming Swing of the Big Band Era. From the most CLASSIC to the most MODERN Jazz, Jitterbug, Mambo, Swing, Latin, Reggae, Caribbean, Dinner Music, Smooth Jazz, Klezmer, Motown, Beach and more…

With over 30 years experience in the music business, Bam-Jazz has some of the most professional musicians with the highest standards of excellence in the region. Comprised of some of the most accomplished and versatile players around, trumpeter/vocalist Bill Averbach brings it home with vintage to modern jazz, blues, swing, jumpin’ jive, Latin, reggae/ska and more... Influenced heavily by artists such as Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Clifton Chenier, Dr. John, The Meters, and Bob Marley the band plays that jumpin’ jive so reminiscent of zoot suits and two-tone shoes. And when they play that New Orleans sound you can almost taste the creole and gumbo at Mardi Gras. Don't miss the party with Bam Jazz this year - Main Stage, Sunday October 20, from 11:00am - 1:15pm!

Julie Gribble
We are lucky to have Julie Gribble back again this year. This is a show not to be missed! It just comes naturally for Julie Gribble, writing, singing, and performing.  But what she loves most is to inspire, to reach people with her music.  With her Traditional Americana/Country Music, Gribble has entranced audiences with her modern stories of life, love and relationships.  When you think about the edge of an artist like Lucinda Williams, the melodies of Allison Krauss, and a likeness to Natalie Merchant, you'll find Julie.  Audiences connect immediately to the unique lyrics because they’re not the same old love clichés. As Craig Ferguson said, on his show about her record, So Typical, "It's Fantastic!"

Gribble has toured the US and Canada, opened for major label artists, become the face of Hotel Indigo's Featured Artist and be asked to perform on many national television shows around the country as well as numerous radio spots. With her recent endorsement through Martin Guitars, Julie has been touring supporting her newest release, "Letting Go." This is followed by her appearance in October, 2010 on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  After wrapping up her supporting role in the upcoming Sony Pictures Film, Quarantine 2, she also was a songwriting teacher and performer on Seth Green's new webshow, ControlTV. Before her recent move to Nashville,TN, she managed to gain a full page interview in Atlanta's Finest Mag, a finalist in GA Lottery's All Access Music Competition, and is nominated for a GA Country Music Award. Don't miss Julie this October 19th, from 10:00am - 12:20pm on the Main Stage!

Arvie Bennett
“I pour my heart and soul into music and songwriting. I want people to see me for who I am; both the light and dark of my soul. I hope that as you read the words I write and hear the songs I sing, you will see yourself in the pages and hear your voice in the melodies.” Arvie Bennett, Jr.

With southern roots and a captivating musical talent, Arvie creates music that reaches all walks of life. From the “American Working Man” to “Just a Cowboy”, he moves the audience with a pure voice and a refreshing transparency in his lyrics, leaving the crowd wanting more.

Since 2010, Arvie has written approximately 30 songs and performed at various events, including conferences, festivals and more intimate settings. Performing his original work is not only a talent, but his passion – and it shows! This is a show you won't want to miss - Sunday, October 13th, Stage 2, 1:15 - 3:45pm!

The Chiggers - Unplugged!
Jennifer Witmer and Roger Liptak are from the popular low country band, The Chiggers, and will be performing “unplugged” versions of the band’s classic rock and modern country fare. Unlike many of the local low country musicians who approach their projects in a “journeyman” style by performing in the various band permutations which make up the local music scene, Jennifer and Roger have found a dedicated musical collaboration in The Chiggers and focus on raising the bar in its evolution.

Jennifer has only been singing in a band environment for 3 years but she is a natural with a powerful yet sensitive voice that evokes the kind of emotion heard in artists like Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, and Sheryl Crow. Originally from Connecticut she can seamlessly morph from jazz to rock to the twangiest country with uncanny authenticity. Jennifer has an infectious energy that also finds outlet in tennis, soccer, skydiving, and raising a 3 year old son! She currently resides in Hilton Head with her husband, Brian, and her son, Elliott.

Roger has been playing electric guitar since he formed his first band in 1967. He developed his style in California during the heart of the classic rock era and was the leader of popular San Francisco area band, Tykus, which played original progressive rock for 13 years. He cites his key guitar influences as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Lesie West, Mike Campbell and Keith Urban. Roger also has played on church worship teams in Boston and New York, as well as leading the Christian rock band, Approaching Storm, in New York from 2006 to 2011. He is currently a lead guitarist at Low Country Community Church in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island Community Church. Roger also finds outlet in designing and building his own amplifiers, engineering and producing CDs, and designing sound systems. He currently lives in Bluffton with his wife, Elaine. See The Chiggers Saturday, October 19th, Satge 2 from 2:45 - 5:00pm!

Jeff Beasley, a popular mainstay in the Savannah and Low Country area, will join us again this year, Sunday, October 20th, from 1:45 - 4:00pm on Stage 3. Jeff performs as a one man band...kicking a drum and tambourine while simultaneously singing and playing acoustic guitar, slide, and harmonica. Savannah’s booming tourist trade has provided an abundance of gigs for local and touring musicians. Since 2003, Jeff has averaged 250 shows per year which have provided him ample time on stage to fine tune his one man band act. With the release of his first, live, solo album titled “Jeff Beasley One Man Band”, he is taking his show on the road. “I’m still going to play in Savannah consistently, but I’m ready to show the world this low country sound I’ve been crafting for seven years” says Jeff. The Jeff Beasley Band is well-known in the Savannah and Low Country area, averaging 250 shows per year for the past several years.

We are pleased to have Jeff Beasley as a one-man band. Help us welcome Jeff Beasley back again for another great performance!

Angela Easterling....
so the old story goes, a small-town girl with ambition puts her all into her music, moves to the big city, meets the right people, and finds success. But with Angela Easterling, it was the opposite. She went back to her small town, and what she found in her native Greenville, SC had Roger McGuinn, founder of legendary folk rock group The Byrds, calling her "a bright shining star on the horizon," going on to say "Her gift is so special….brought me back to the time the Byrds recorded Sweetheart of the Rodeo - tradition meets youthful exuberance."

Easterling’s songwriting has made her a two-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist and a 2011 Telluride Troubadour Finalist, and has roped in critical lauding from Oxford American, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Herald, a prolific interview with NPR's Bob Edwards, heavy airplay on Sirius XM's Outlaw Country and a band appearance on public radio program Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know. These accolades, however, are second to the riveting storytelling, deft Americana songwriting, and accessible persona of Angela Easterling. Angela plans to hit the road for most of the year, charming new audiences with her mix of past and present, personal and political, disarming and provocative music and lyrics. When she heads back home, it's guaranteed that Angela Easterling will have bigger surprises in store. She's one to watch....and we are thrilled to have this talent for our Arts & Seafood Festival. Don't miss Angela Easterling again this year; she will be performing on Sunday, October 20th, from 11:00am - 1:00pm on Stage 2.

Once again, we are proud to have John Emil, an accomplished singer/songwriter, guitarist, and a master of slide guitar, back for our festival! John has delivered showstopping performances at major music festivals around the country and this year we'll see the same...check him out on Saturday, October 19th, Main Stage from 12:45 - 2:30pm!

Equally adept with the acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitar and dobro, Emil first appeared on the South Florida music scene in 2000. Fans hear haunting, subtle hints of Delta bluesmen Son House and Blind Willie Johnson, but Emil ultimately creates a unique style all his own by integrating country blues, folk, bluegrass and lush Hawaiian sounds into his repertoire.

Routinely taking the lost art of slide guitar in a new direction, Emil has composed a wealth of slide guitar tracks for media production libraries. His instrumental tracks have been published by LA Post Music in Los Angeles, Westar Music in Canada, and Strange Fruit in South Africa. Emil recently became the first American musician to be published by London’s KPM, one of the world’s largest production libraries. Among the many television and cable network shows Emil has supplied music for are “Dateline,” Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” CMT’s “Cribs,” and several international wildlife and nature documentaries.
OCD has quickly become the hottest and one of the most popular bands in the Hilton Head/Bluffton area. Come check us out Saturday night at Rockin' on the Dock...down by the Oyster Factory at 6:00PM!

We play a little Rock, Blues, Reggae, Alternative, maybe a little Country, whatever we feel like...and what the crowd wants to hear! 

Gary Byrd and the Outlaw Band
For the best in Rock, old and new, Blues, Country and everything in between...Gary Byrd and the Outlaws deliver everytime. See them October 20, Main Stage, from 1:45 - 4:00pm. Whether you call them Country or Southern Rock, you won't want to miss this group!

Rockin' On the Dock Fireworks & Party!            
The 9th annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival fireworks spectacular will present the best fireworks show in Bluffton at dusk on Saturday evening, October 19. Shot from the May River and viewed riverside at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park on Wharf Street, this will be the grand finale to a day full of festivities, not to be missed!