Rockin’ on the River

Riverfest Music
Main Stage
Water Street Federal Building
Fri. – Sun., 10/7-9 • Free!

PLAYING FOR FUN: The 360 Degrees cover songs that keep the audience engaged and having fun. The band headlines Riverfest on Saturday evening at 8 p.m.. Courtesy photo.
Riverfest, per usual, offers free family entertainment on the main stage throughout the weekend of October 7th through 9th. Set up in front of the Federal Building on Water Street, with a beer garden quite literally on tap closeby, dancing is sure to take place daily and especially into the night throughout the weekend. To complement those stellar moves, grade-A music will accompany events on two main stages at various times. Here are some of the bands to look forward to:

The Sound Down Shore, 7 p.m.
The Sound Down Shore will take to the stage with band members Dylan Holton (vocals/guitar), Ryan Grubb (bass guitar), Mike Kelsey (keyboard) and Phillip Roseberry (drums). In a past encore interview, as Holton was just joining the band, Patti Wilson described Holton’s writing “from the heart—[where he] looks for those everyday moments that inspire…”

In this case, it makes for a perfect Friday sundown.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute Band, 9 p.m.
After seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan play Austin City Limits, Justin Fox picked up a guitar and never looked back when he decided to form a Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute Band. With his cousin Jeremy and “brother from another mother,” Dave, the trio only had one thing in mind: “Paying respect to the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan and to love every second of it.”

Though the music isn’t stopping ‘til well into Sunday afternoon, Saturday’s schedule flourishes most of all with performances starting at noon with Daniel Parish, followed by 40 East, Timi Lrie and Velcro taking the stage throughout the afternoon. All leading up to the headlining act…

The 360 Degrees, 8 p.m.
Serving the Wilmington area for almost 20 years, the 360’s are known as a number-one party band, premiering at weddings, corporate functions, private parties and clubs. They offer diverse music genres and high-energy performances. The original three members of the 360’s, Buddy Thomley (lead vocals/guitar), Brad Dean (vocals/drums) and Phil Maynard (former vocals/bass guitar), have since adopted Travis Price (guitar/vocals), Jason Moore (bass), Jane Houseal (lead vocals/percussion) and Bert Linton (keyboard/guitar/vocals). Almost a century’s worth of experience rolled into one group, they all have been in the music business for most of their lives.

Bert Linton has performed professionally since the age of 16 and presently manages Modern Music in Wilmington while performing with the band. As a recording artist and producer, Linton has performed with the likes of Jon Byrd and Abandon Reason and co-produced Jeff Reid’s “Roman Holiday.”

encore caught up with Linton to get a few details about the band’s evolution and his thoughts on being a part of one of the most popular cover bands in town.

encore: What garners your place as Wilmington’s number one party band in your opinion?
Bert Linton: Probably the wide variety and styles of music that we play, as well as getting involved with the crowd while performing. We have two lead singers with wireless mics [who] think nothing of getting out in the crowd and getting them involved; dancing, singing or even bringing them back up onstage. After all, the sole purpose of our performance is to make our audience feel as if they are attending a great party.

e: How have the band members been collected since 360’s inception?
BL: We have always talked to other musicians in the area, as well as placed ads in the classifieds or bulletin boards. Then we have auditions, not only looking for someone talented but also someone who fits a similar priority profile. That and the person’s work ethic is as important to us as the talent, if not more so!

e: What are your favorite types of events/venues to perform?
BL: There are very few venues that we don’t enjoy. However, any venue where we are able to make a connection with the crowd and feed off of each other’s energy are by far the best. We really enjoy some of the outdoor venues—Mayfaire, Sounds of Summer and Airlie Gardens. People are enjoying not only the music but also the beauty of the area. These venues offer the ability for you to bring your own food, grills and drinks. Kids are running around, dancing, playing and having fun. It’s just good old-fashioned fun for not only the crowd but us as well.

e: At what point and why was the name The 360 Degrees adopted?
BL: The name has always been The 360 Degrees. The premise of the name was a group of three members playing mostly 60’s music, realizing that they had come full circle with the music that they use to love to listen to and play in their first bands, and we’re now back playing pretty much the same music. We refer to ourselves mostly as ‘The 360’s’ [and] not The Three Hundred Sixties, because most announcer’s for radio and TV pronounce it that way. But the truth is, we’re just happy to know that they are saying our name in some form or fashion.

e: Why cover songs? Have you ever been tempted to create originals?
BL: We’ve all played in other bands that wrote and performed original music, hoping to make it on a more commercial level. Sometimes you have to weigh the pros and cons, the effort versus the reward and, most of all, the odds of success. I think all of us in our own way decided that this band would be a way to just have fun, like golfing or surfing. Playing covers relieves a lot of the stress and work involved in the day-to-day grind of self-promotion. After all, the music is written and arranged for us. All we have to do is play it and do justice to both the song and the artist.

Sunday wraps up the weekend of the Riverfest romp but not without a few shows throughout the afternoon to help bid the festival adieu. From contemporary Christian rock to acoustic heart and soul, it’s a musical ending worth many notes of praise.

Bella Vita, 12 p.m.
Consisting of Nathan Storey (guitar/vocals/keyboards), Matthew Stevenson (guitar/vocals/piano) and Kim Price (bass/guitar/vocals), Wilmington’s Bella Vita has gotten a lot of attention in a short period of time. After the group debuted its “Flight Patterns” EP on iTunes, positive reviews came pouring in for their future as an Indie/folk/gospel band. The soft harmonies throughout “Flight Patterns” provides easy-listening with lulling heartfelt lyrics, perfect for a Sunday afternoon romp down the river.

Luminosity, 2 p.m.
Formed in June 2009, this quartet of Nathan Purifoy, Michael Graham, Daniel Purifoy, Matt Dudley–with several others on occasion–has been known to blend multiple styles to create unique forms of Christian rock. Expect to hear jams from their 2010 album, “Between Us and the Infinite,” plus the occasional acoustic 80’s cover.

Matt Blair, 4 p.m.
Husband, father, blogger, singer and songwriter, Matt Blair wraps up Sunday afternoon with music he hopes speaks to the heart and soul with modern Christian rock. Songs like “Still Amazing” and “Forgive Me” from his album “Broken and Redefined” come off as uplifting with a hint of electric edge that reflects his faith.

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