Out & About

Salute to soul man Dave Prater

Next week, residents of Ocilla will host their second annual Prater Music Festival, a commemorative event to honor native son Dave Prater, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Prater earned those honors as half of the 1960s singing duo Sam & Dave, one of the most successful duos in soul music history, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

Known for their electrifying shows, Sam & Dave were billed as “Double Dynamite” because of their energetic performances. They delivered such hits as “Hold On, I’m Coming,” “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” and “Soul Man,” for which they won a Grammy for best performance by a group or duo in 1968.

Because last year’s successful inaugural event attracted hundreds of visitors to downtown Ocilla, the upcoming Prater Music Festival on May 12-14 was expanded from two days to three days.

“We’re excited that the Prater Festival is returning to Ocilla for a second year,” said Ocilla Mayor Matt Seale. “We’re extremely proud to be the birthplace of such a music legend as Dave Prater.”

One of 11 children, David Prater Jr. was born on May 9, 1937, and grew up picking cotton, tobacco and other crops. He sang gospel music in his family’s church choir and eventually sang with his brother in a gospel group. He met his duo partner, Sam Moore, in Miami in 1961 and shortly thereafter they signed a recording contract.

As they say, the rest is history, but read more about Prater on the festival’s website at pratermusicfest.com.

This year’s festival begins with a tribute dinner on Thursday. It will feature food from local restaurants and a silent auction of music memorabilia, gift certificates, baked goods and other items. The program will include guest speaker, Macon native Newton Collier. As a young trumpet player, Collier was an original member of the Sam & Dave band. Proceeds from the tribute dinner will go toward a scholarship fund for local high school students who pursue careers in music.

The celebrations continue with a free block party with live music on May 13, then close with a community worship service at Mount Olive AME Church — where Prater grew up singing in the choir — on May 14.

Seale added, “In future years, we hope to add more events and musical groups on multiple stages.”

Get more information and tickets by calling Ocilla City Hall at 229-468-5141.

Contact Melanie Byas at melanie@retrowarehouse.com.