ELLERBE ― The “World’s Largest Strawberry” is becoming known for something other than produce and ice cream ― live music.
The Berry Patch owners Lee and Amy Berry said they plan to have music at least once a month at their stand off of U.S. 220.
“This time of year is really slow for us,” Amy Berry said, and with other venues currently closed because of governmental restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said “we thought we would strike while the iron was hot.”
The City of Rockingham canceled the entire season of the Plaza Jam summer concert series, but organizers say the bands booked for this year have already been rebooked for 2021.
The Berrys said the outdoor concert series ― which started last week with the country band Dark Horse ― serves two purposes: to give people something to do; and support local bands.
Lee Berry estimates that there were 175-200 people at last Thursday’s show.
So far, the Berry’s have two more bands booked for the coming weeks.
Local band Carolina Drive will perform Thursday, Sept. 3. from 6-8:30 p.m.
Guitarist Phillip Batten said the band hasn’t played in about a year due to the coronavirus and other issues.
“Everybody’s tired of sitting around,” he said.
The band features musicians from across Richmond and Montgomery counties, including vocalist Ronnie Robinson, drummer Rick Jackson, keyboard player Jody Honeycutt, guitarist Lee Devoght, and bassist Luke Vuncannon.
Batten said he and Robinson have been playing music together since the ‘90s.
Carolina Drive ― which plays a variety of classic rock and R&B, country and beach music ― has performed at several locations in the region, including Ford’s Music Millhouse in Rockingham.
“We keep the people dancing,” Batten said. “We hope they like us.”
Amy Berry said she is a “huge beach music fan,” so they are looking for those types of bands.
It just so happens that the third band booked in the series is Jim Quick and Coastline on Sept. 16.
While attaining popularity on the beach music circuit, Quick could be considered a local artist, as he was born in Laurinburg.
As of 2018, Quick had been awarded Entertainer of the Year in the Carolina Beach Music Awards 19 times.
Quick and company played at Normanfest back in October 2019.
The Berrys, who have been in talks with another band from the eastern side of the state, said this year’s season will end in October because of the weather change but they hope to resume in March.
The concerts are free and food is available from both the Berry Patch and Britton’s BBQ and Grill food truck.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and maintain social distancing.
Jim Quick and Coastline perform at Normanfest in 2019. (Photo by William R. Toler – Richmond Observer)