Concerts a big part of Coastal Carolina Fair

Edens Edge

Strolling through the fairgrounds on a crisp evening with friends and family can be a sentimental experience for those who enjoyed the rides, games, cuisine, sights and sounds in their youth.

The clang of the carnival barkers, the greasy aromas of fried and grilled snacks from the concession stands, and the flashes of blinking lights and neon signs can trigger warm memories for most attendees.

Live music also has been a major part of the local tradition for years at the Coastal Carolina Fair at the Exchange Park in Ladson.

The roster of visiting artists is usually a mix of oldies and modern acts. From modern country and rock, authentic beach music and vintage disco, the nightly concerts at this year’s fair offer something for just about every music fan.

Celebrating its 56th year, the Coastal Carolina Fair opens Thursday. As part of its family-oriented entertainment, the fair will present 10 concerts and a comedy show at the sizable Lakefront Stage amphitheater.

Situated in the middle of the fairgrounds near a small lake, the Lakefront Stage features a large bandstand and bleacher-style fixed seating with a capacity of more than 5,000. It’s hard to find a seat in the venue with a lousy view.

Award-winning, organ-driven rockers Paul Revere & the Raiders, one of the most popular American party bands of the late 1960s, kick things off at 7:30 Thursday.

Led by the boisterous singer Paul Revere, the Raiders normally perform while clad in tri-corner hats and Colonial-style military uniforms.

Between 1966 and ’69, Paul Revere & the Raiders’ record sales rivaled those of major Motown and British Invasion acts of the time. Their big hits included “Steppin’ Out,” “Just Like Me,” “Hungry,” “Him or Me, What’s It Gonna Be” and “Kicks.” At 74, Revere still is soldiering on.

There’ll be some Palmetto State pride in the air on Friday when Spartanburg’s Marshall Tucker Band performs a set of classics and jams.

Led by original vocalist Doug Gray, the Marshall Tucker Band established itself as one of the more versatile acts in the Southern rock realm in the early and mid-1970s. Its use of flute and woodwinds gave a jazzy touch to such hits as “Fire on the Mountain,” “Can’t You See” and “Heard It in a Love Song.”

Nashville, Tenn.-based country-rock quartet Little Texas will be at the Lakefront Stage on Saturday.

Singer/keyboardist Brady Seals, drummer Del Gray, lead guitarist Porter Howell, bassist Duane Propes, and rhythm guitarists/singers Dwayne O’Brien and Tim Rushlow formed the band in 1988 and hooked up with Warner Bros. Records in 1991. The debut record, “First Time for Everything,” went gold in 1992.

On Monday, veteran country chart-topper Jo Dee Messina will start kicking up dust at 7:30 p.m.

A native of Massachusetts, Messina relocated to Nashville at 19. Her self-titled debut album hit the charts in 1996 under the steam of the hit single “Heads Carolina, Tails California.” She’s sold more than 5 million records worldwide during her career.

The harmonious Oak Ridge Boys, who hit the stage Tuesday, started out in the 1960s as a gospel vocal group before landing on the pop and country charts in the 1970s.

To some casual fans, the quartet’s Grammy-winning rendition of the goofy love song “Elvira,” featuring the rumbling bass singing of Richard Sterban, was their most amusing and memorable moment.

There’ll be wild costumes on stage and in the stands when disco/pop vocal band the Village People render their outlandish hits on Halloween. Listen for “Macho Man,” “Go West,” “In the Navy,” “Can’t Stop the Music” and “Y.M.C.A.”

The Coastal Carolina Fair’s concerts continue with performances by Georgia-based Americana/rock songwriter Corey Smith and country/pop singer Lauren Alaina, runner-up on the 10th season of “American Idol.” Also expect to catch country/Americana trio Edens Edge; old-school R&B/shag band The Tams and The Embers, who will play a mix of oldies and beach music hits to close things out Nov. 4.

All of the Lakefront Stage shows are included with general gate admission.

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