Block Party entertainers expand to 12 big stages

Block Party entertainers expand to 12 big stages

WOONSOCKET - From the oldies, to newer acts playing country, rap and jazz, the Main Street 125th anniversary Block Party is slated to have it all, with a half mile of vendors, entertainment and other festivities stretching through the city's downtown.

Most of the bands for the celebration have already been determined, and the stage locations set for the massive party, which will take place on Thursday, Aug. 29. The party begins at 4 p.m., and planners have intentionally set up the festival so that revelers will move along the strip towards Monument Square, where the headline act will give the latest performance of the evening.

The festival was originally expected to have eight stages, but the number has expanded to 12, as local and regional performers vie for a spot on the big day, expected to draw in some 30,000 guests.

"We covered the whole gambit of musical tastes," said Block Party co-chair Albert Beauparlant.

The 18 Big Band musicians in the Meadowlarks will occupy Stage 1 at Market Square, in the center parking lot in front of Ye Olde English Fish & Chips. Under the direction of Dan Ferreira, the Meadowlarks have become popular with ballroom dance enthusiasts in recent years, playing a mix of musical styles from the Big Band Swing era, to contemporary, pop, rock, and jazz.

Stage 2, to be located at 20 Main St., will host a country band yet to be determined. Beauparlant said the committee is in talks with several potential performers.

Seventies band Rough and Ready will play on Stage 3 at 60 Main St., in the large parking lot to the left of the former Heritage Coffee Shop. The popular King's Row, known as one of New England's premier oldies bands, meanwhile, will occupy Stage 4 at 90 Main St.

The Rising Stars, a hip hop act with a positive message led by Woonsocket native Jeremy Jones will perform on Stage 5 at City Hall. The stars will be accompanied by the New Force Steppers, a South Providence marching group.

Two acts will play Stage 6, in the Longley Parking lot at 190 Main St. Northeast Groove, a New England-based five-piece band with two guitars, bass, drums and percussion will be matched with Steve Malec and the Electric Flood: a four-man man out of Foster/Glocester blending classic rock, blues, folk, progressive rock, and funk.

At the Depot Square Train Station organizers have determined that a French band will play, though the final information on the performer has yet to be announced.

In the parking lot by Chan's at 267 Main St., The Niteflies, a new four-member band with keyboard, bass, guitar and vocals, will occupy Stage 8. The band covers popular rock and funk hits from Van Halen and Whitesnake, to Cee Lo Green and Pink.

Stage 9 will be situated by the "Taste of Woonsocket" food tent, and the mellow sounds of Berkeley School of Boston Jazz will greet diners throughout the evening at the corner of Cato and Main Streets.

Musicians from Berkeley's School of Rhythm and Blues, meanwhile, will perform on Stage 10, further down the road at the corner of Church and Main Streets.

Stage 11, at the corner of Federal and Main Streets by Beacon Charter School, has been dubbed "The Stage of the Arts" and will host a variety of unique and visually stimulating performers with an emphasis on local talent. That stage is slated to have a total of 10 acts, which will be different from bands playing along the route.

The main stage, Stage 12, will be set up by The Stadium Theatre at 28 Monument Square and reserved for the festival headliner, James Montgomery Band. Montgomery, a Grammy-nominated rockin' blues act whose members boast work with performers from Kid Rock to Gregg Allman, will be accompanied by drop in talent from the Uptown Horns and other local blues and jazz musicians for an all-star performance.

Beauparlant said the Block Party Committee is thrilled with the quality of talent that's signed up for the event.

"We've covered from the Big Band era to the jazz and blues era to modern music," he said. "It's going to be one amazing night."