2015 ENTERTAINMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Boat Parade on the May River and Blessing of the Fleet
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.
Ellen Malphrus lives and writes beside the May River in her native Carolina Lowcountry and beneath the Madison Mountains in western Montana. She studied under esteemed poet and author of Deliverance, James Dickey, who was her mentor and Graduate Director for the MFA she earned at the University of South Carolina. She considers Pat Conroy, who wrote the foreword for Untying the Moon, her “brother-in-Dickey.”
Malphrus' fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in a variety of publications including Southern Literary Journal, Review of Contemporary Fiction, William & Mary Review, Haight Ashbury Review, Georgia Poetry Review, the anthology Essence of Beaufort and the Lowcountry, and the anthology Literature: Reading and Writing with Critical Strategies. Since earning her Ph.D. in Twentieth Century American Literature with an emphasis in Southern Literature, Malphrus has taught literature and creative writing at USC Beaufort.
She is most at home in nature, and her concern for wild places and creatures, particularly when it comes to coastal conservation, is evident in the fabric of her writing. A proud and unrepentant Luddite, Malphrus merrily eschews electricity and running water at her Montana cabin and counts herself fortunate that her husband, Andy Fishkind, is of the same mindset. Their grown daughter Sarah and three rescue dogs, however, are quite content with creature comforts and remain behind in South Carolina.
— Pat Conroy
Cassandra King is the author of five novels, most recently the critically acclaimed Moonrise (2013), her literary homage to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Moonrise is a Fall 2013 Okra Pick and a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) bestseller. It has been described as “her finest book to date.”
Fellow Southern writers Sandra Brown, Fannie Flagg, and Dorothea Benton Frank hailed her previous novel, Queen of Broken Hearts (2008), as “wonderful,” “uplifting,” “absolutely fabulous,” and “filled with irresistible characters.” Prior to that, King’s third book, The Same Sweet Girls (2005), was a #1 Booksense Selection and Booksense bestseller, a Southeastern Bookseller Association bestseller, a New York Post Required Reading selection, and a Literary Guild Book-of-the-Month Club selection.
Her first novel, Making Waves in Zion, was published in 1995 by River City Press and reissued in 2004 by Hyperion. Her second novel, The Sunday Wife (2002), was a Booksense Pick, a People Magazine Page-Turner of the Week, a Literary Guild Book-of-the-Month selection, a Books-a-Million President’s Pick, a South Carolina State Readers’ Circle selection, and a Salt Lake Library Readers’ Choice Award nominee. In paperback, the novel was chosen by the Nestle Corporation for its campaign to promote reading groups.
King’s short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, Alabama Bound: The Stories of a State (1995), Belles’ Letters: Contemporary Fiction by Alabama Women (1999), Stories From Where We Live (2002), and Stories From The Blue Moon Café (2004). Aside from writing fiction, she has taught writing on the college level, conducted corporate writing seminars, worked as a human-interest reporter for a Pelham, Alabama, weekly paper, and published an article on her second-favorite pastime, cooking, in Cooking Light magazine.
A native of L.A. (Lower Alabama), King currents lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, novelist Pat Conroy, whom she met when he wrote a blurb for Making Waves.
The Same Sweet Girl’s Guide to Life
Written with a blend of humor and practical wisdom, The Same Sweet Girl’s Guide to Life by Cassandra King offers inspiration and solid advice to new graduates that can sustain them through life’s inevitable ups and downs. In this small book you will find advice that will only grow in meaning throughout the years. It can - and should - be read again and again, by thoughtful people of all ages.
King’s true gift is in her ability to present readers with the sort of hard-earned wisdom that will help both young and old find sustenance and renewed meaning in their lives.
Bernie Schein born, bred and Bar Mitzvahed in Beaufort, SC, Bernie graduated from Newberry College, Newberry, SC, and earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Bernie’s been featured and published in Atlanta Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Newsweek, Creative Loafing and other magazines, journals, and periodicals. His most recent book prior to Famous all over Town (2014) is If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom (2009). His first book (co-authored with his wife psychologist Martha Schein), Open Classrooms in the Middle School, was a featured selection of the Educators’ Book Club.
At present, he writes, speaks and tells stories about his life as a Jewish southerner. An educator for 45 years, he is also an educational consultant, doing workshops, giving talks and telling stories about the kids in his classroom at the Paideia School in Atlanta, where after serving as principal of three different schools, he taught for 33 years. The Scheins have two daughters—the writer and philosopher Dr. Maggie Schein and the teacher Lara Alexander Williams — and two granddaughters, Sofie and Caitlin. Bernie lives in Beaufort.
Famous All Over Town A comically candid novel of the small-town South, rampant with revelations from bedrooms, courtrooms, and all points in between.
“Like its author, this ambitious novel is by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heart breakingly honest.” – Pat Conroy
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.
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 Saturday, October 23rd, Main Stage from 3:00pm- 5:00pm.
MUDDYCREEK is a five-piece variety cover band that became a Lowcountry favorite almost overnight. From their first public performance for the Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Business After-Hours party in the Spring of 2014, this group has been pleasing different types of audiences with their surprising array of ever-growing musical offerings. Unlike other variety bands that all seem to play the same song list, MUDDYCREEK has their ownapproach to song selection for putting together a show that suits just about any gathering to create an exciting experience. The band roster includes members who are multi-instrumentalists and the songs they perform often include multi-part vocal arrangements for a band sound that is unique to the area and dynamic throughout their shows. Put together all of these capabilities and you have a band that has performed at formal private weddings, Bluffton’s annual Mayfest, fundraising events like the Leo’s Legacy Festival, private parties and business grand openings, and many venues throughout Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Daufuskie Island, and beyond. Audiences throughout the Lowcountry have enjoyed and danced to this band’s unique mix of Pop, R&B, Country, Classic Rock, Blues, Disco, Rockabilly Swing, and more. And for you musical purists: no computer accompaniment or alteration, just live music played with the hopes of connecting with the listener. MUDDYCREEK is simply a collection of fun-loving, highly experienced musicians who play music straight from the heart.
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 the kick- off Sunday Oct 16. on stage 2 from 11:00am-12:45pm and Saturday, Oct. 22 on stage 2, from 2:45pm-5:00pm!
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 23, from 11am - 1:15pm!
A High Energy Country Artist that lives for Country Music. Come check him out on Sunday Oct. 23 on stage 2 from 1:30pm-4:00pm
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 Saturday October 23rd from 1:45pm- 4:00pm on the Main Stage!
Jeff Beasley, a popular mainstay in the Savannah and Low Country area, will join us again this year, Sunday, October 18th, 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. You can see Jeff Beasley Sunday Oct. 23 on stage 3 from 1:45pm-4:00pm.
Equally adept with the acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitar and dobro, John 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. You can see John Emil Saturday Oct. 22 on stage 3 from 12:45pm-2:15pm.
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. You can see Gary Byrd and the Outlaw Band at the Fireworks Show Saturday October 22nd.
Rockin' On the Dock Fireworks & Party!
The 12th annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival fireworks spectacular will present the best fireworks show in Bluffton at dusk on Saturday evening, October 22. 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!