Southern rockers .38 Special headline Cherry Blossom Festival Street Party

March 22, 2013 

The Cherry Blossom Festival Street Party is undoubtedly a favorite event for the festival’s music lovers. Taking stage Saturday night will be .38 Special, the Dirty Guv’nuhs, Atlanta Funk Society and the Wild Feathers.

Although the street party is downsizing from dueling performance venues to a single stage at Cherry Street Plaza, organizers are still expecting an excellent series of performances.

“We’re trying to get a good demographic mix on stage,” said Jake Ferro, Cherry Blossom Festival president and CEO. “We are very excited about the acts we are going to be able to offer and we are already making notes for 2014.”

The opening performance will be from the Wild Feathers, who describe themselves on their Facebook page as, “if Led Zeppelin and the Band had a baby in Joshua Tree that grew up listening to Ryan Adams covering the Stones ’70s country influenced songs.”

This year’s headliners, .38 Special, originated in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1974. With songs like “Hold on Loosely,” “Caught Up in You” and “If I’d Been the One,” .38 Special fits in Macon, the birthplace of Southern rock, like a hand in a glove. With the latest single, “Live From Texas,” reminding fans of what they love about the group, it is small wonder that the band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in October 2012.

Unfortunately, the band’s website explained last week that in “accordance with doctor’s strict orders and due to health issues related to inner-ear nerve damage, (lead singer Donnie Van Zant) will also not be able to join .38 Special onstage in the foreseeable future. Donnie will continue to write and record with the band.”

Joining .38 Special are Macon favorites the Dirty Guv’nuhs. Still flying high on the success of their 2012 release, “Under These Southern Skies,” the group has headlined sold-out concerts all over the country.

On its website, the band promises that their latest album showcases their unique style, defined as “an energetic blend of rock and soul interwoven with a distinctive modern edge. The result is a joyous 14-track offering that combines honest, heartfelt lyrics with gritty and passionate musicianship.”

Standout tracks “3,000 Miles,” “Don’t Give Up on Me” and “Temptation” exemplify the band’s keen ability to effectively infuse traditional rock sounds with contemporary beats.

Concluding the Street Party lineup will be the Atlanta Funk Society, whose ’70s and ’80s inspired brass grooves are responsible for parties around the country. The group is a 12-piece funk band from Atlanta who made their name famous by not only playing, but playing well.

With favorites like “Superbad” by James Brown, “Underdog” by Sly and the Family Stone, and “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me” by Chaka Kahn, this group is guaranteed to bring the party to an end with a memorable dance step and a good time had by all.

Cherry Blossom Festival Street Party

When: Gates open at 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Cherry Street Plaza, downtown Macon

Cost: $12 in advance, $20 day of show

Information: 301-5470, www.cherryblossom.com

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