Sponsored by the Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society of S.C., J.B. Pivots Beach Club, 94.9 FM The Surf, and Best Western, the fourth annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival is on the horizon.
For dedicated shag dancers, beach bum coastliners, and the curious and uninitiated, these events offer a fantastic opportunity to embrace S.C.’s official state dance. The shag established itself mostly along the Southeastern coastline in the 1930s and ’40s, well before the “lindy hop,” the “jitterbug,” the “big apple,” and other popular dance floor steps. The shagging craze hit its stride in the ’60s and found a resurgence in the late ’70s and early ’80s. There’s plenty of authentic shag-beat music in the lineup.
The Beach Music & Shag Festival festivities kick off on Wed. Aug. 26 with a beach party at J.B. Pivots Beach Club (1662 Savannah Hwy.) hosted in part by characters from the newly-established AM radio station 1340 The Boardwalk. On Thurs. Aug. 27, DJ Pat Patterson — a veteran personality on the air in Greenwood and Hilton Head — will spin tunes from his vast record collection at Pivots through the evening.
On Fri. Aug. 28, New York-based singer Angel Rissoff performs at 7:30 p.m. at Pivots with accompaniment from award-winning vocalist Rhonda McDaniel, followed by local favorite Rick Strickland and his band at 9 p.m. DJ Butch Halpin is emcee of the evening. Admission for Friday night’s show is $20.
Early in the afternoon on Sat. Aug. 29, radio station 94.9 FM The Surf (from Myrtle Beach) will do a remote broadcast from the downtown Best Western from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Beach Music & Shag Festival concludes with two big music nights downtown. The main events will be held at the Citadel’s John Monroe J. Holliday Alumni Center (located on Hagood Ave., just northwest of Johnson Hagood Stadium).
Saturday’s concert starts at 1 p.m. with a set from Greenwood band The Fabulous Shades, followed by Angel Rissoff and Rhonda McDaniel at 4 p.m. Singer Johnny Rawls and his band (a Piccolo Spoleto and Lowcountry Blues Bash favorite over the years) plays a soulful, funky set at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Lowcountry-based Melody Makers. DJ Jim Bowers (of 1340 The Boardwalk) will be spinning hits between sets and acting as the main emcee.
Sunday events at the Alumni Center celebrate “50 years of The Tams” starting at noon with a shag workshop. Charlotte-based shag/soul band The Catalinas (known for the song “Summertime’s Calling Me”) open the concert at 1 p.m. Charleston’s own East Coast Party band performs at 2:30 p.m., and the Greenwood-based Swinging Medallions (known for the fraternity hit” “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love”) hit the stage at 4 p.m. The Mighty Mighty Joe Pope Tams (a.k.a. The Tams) headline at 5:30 p.m. The Atlanta-based group are genuine beach music legends known for such soulful hits as “What Kind of Fool” and “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.” Their latest single is appropriately titled “Ain’t Nothing Like Shagging.” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is expected to attend and award The Tams with a municipal proclamation.
Tickets for the events at the Alumni Center are $30 (each). Two-day passes for Sat. and Sun. are available for $50. Call (843) 571-3668, e-mail organizer Harriett Grady-Thomas at email@example.com, or go online to pivotsbeachclub.com for more info.