Concert series celebrates local sound

Downtown Beats & Eats returns Sept. 8

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The fifth season of Historic Downtown Wilson’s Beats & Eats concert series launches in a new location, at a new time and with some new bands beginning Saturday, Sept. 8.

The Beats & Eats series will move to the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, and concerts will run in September and October on alternating Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m.

“As the Downtown Beats & Eats series enters its fifth season, it continues to evolve,” said Will Robl, Beats and Eats event chairman. “We’ve seen attendance grow each year, so moving the events into the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is the next logical step.

“Although some concert-goers like the intimacy of smaller venues, we think the move into the Whirligig Park will give it more of a festival feel. Attendance for the Gig in the Park series, previously known as Downtown Alive, doubled with the change in venue, and we hope that trend continues for the DB&E series.”

Moving the time of Downtown Beats & Easts was a good move for the concert series.

“Changing the event from Thursday evenings to Saturdays a couple of years ago received rave reviews,” said Susan Kellum, downtown marketing and communication coordinator for the city of Wilson. “Since then, we have tweaked the time of the event in response to feedback from our audience, many of whom have children in sports on Saturday mornings and prefer for it to start a little later in the day.

“In addition, that gives us a small window of time between the conclusion of the Wilson Farmers & Artisan market at 1 p.m. and the beginning of the concerts at 2 p.m. to complete setup and get the food trucks in place without too much congestion.”

Admission to all concerts remains free of charge and features local and regional bands, various food trucks and specialty beverages. Wrist bands are required only for beer/wine purchases and can be purchased for $1 each.

“We’re also working with multiple beverage vendors for the 2018 season,” Robl said. “The DB&E series has always had a focus on craft beer and wine, and this year we are excited to have four local businesses involved — 217 Brew Works, Brewmasters, Downtown Public House and Grapenuts Wine.”

One of the key elements of the DB&E series is what the committee calls “homegrown music.”

“DB&E has always showcased musicians and bands with a Wilson connection,” Robl said. “Over the years we have also included regional bands with roots in North Carolina. Each of our events this year will pair some of our hometown favorites with bands from outside of Wilson.”


The 2018 season kicks off on Sept. 8 with the popular local Matty Begs band and Asheville-based Travers Brothership. Food trucks scheduled for that day are Chirba Chirba, Get A Piz-za This and Ya’ll Eat Yet?

Matty Begs’ band members hail from both Wilson and Rocky Mount. Band members include Matty Russo on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Ellis Ramey, drums; Bo Faulkner, lead guitar; and Stephen Dupree, bass.

Matty Begs performs original material with a sound heavily influenced by artists such as the Dave Mathews’ Band, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Counting Crows and Sublime. They also perform a variety of familiar songs but infuse them with their own funky, upbeat style.

Matty Begs released its latest CD, “Wait For It,” in May of this year.

Travers Brothership features twin brothers, Eric and Kyle Travers, who have been performing together since they were 13 years old. In 2012, the Travers Brothership was born and features alternative, soul and funk music.

The band is currently touring the United States supporting its CD “A Way to Survive” and working on a second CD. A European tour is slated for this winter.

The Sept. 22 September’s concert brings local favorite TripleWide for its fourth time on the DB&T stage. This year, TripleWide will be sharing the date with Empire Strikes Brass of Asheville.

“Empire Strikes Brass is a high-energy, eight-piece, brass-funk-rock band, which will be something Wilson hasn’t really had before,” Robl said.

ESB is rooted in New Orleans brass bands combined with old school funk. Founded in 2012, ESB stretches the boundaries of a stereotypical brass band, fusing sounds from various genres.

TripleWide features the powerful vocals of Wilmington-based Whitney Pearsall, with Wilson’s Steven Stewart on lead guitar and vocals, Dale Bryce on bass, and David Daniels on drums and vocals. The band blends original songs with classic rock, infusing all tunes with a funky, bluesy sound, a touch of jazz, a whole lot of soul and phenomenal musicianship.

Food trucks for Sept. 22 are Adobe Joe, Burger 21 and Spanglish.

Downtown Beats & Eats continues in October with the Balter Brothers and Signal Fire on Oct. 6 and Plywood Smile and the Greg Humphreys Electric Trio on Oct. 20.

The DB&E committee takes pride in selecting bands for each year’s series that not only have local appeal, but regional as well.

“Event chairperson, Will Robl, and the Downtown Beats & Eats committee have worked diligently since early this year to select local and regional bands that not only appeal to the event’s target demographic but will also bring regional visitors who follow the artists to Historic Downtown Wilson,” Kellum said.

For more information about the Downtown Beats & Eats series, visit the Historic Downtown Wilson website at www.historicdowntownwilson.com.