Bernaroo Music & Arts Festival Brings Music Lovers a Good Bang for the Buck

On The Scene With



NCMZ.LIVE was a proud sponsor of the multi-day music festival that occupied several venues and offered family fun, art, and music all weekend to the citizens and visitors of New Bern, NC. 2018 Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival was also sponsored by several other awesome businesses supporting the arts and local music, including The Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek, Folks Journal, and BrÜtopia. The event featured 19 NC based bands, over the course of three days, at four venues in one great downtown.

 19 Bands for $25


In case you have missed the news, GEM Productions have been hosting amazing music events in our community for nearly a decade. The team of ambitious music lovers has been diligently working to bring quality acts from all areas of our great state while supporting worthy causes right here in our neighborhood. Along the way, we have met many great original acts that are a proud part of the GEM Productions Legacy!

On Friday and Saturday just past, they opened the doors of their new home for the 2018 installation of Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival. They occupied The New Bern Farmer’s Market located on S Front Street for their sponsored events and welcomed another 12 acts over the course of two days, on two stages.

Beyond that, they occupied a third day and three other venues in town to bring live music to this town as part a of the festival weekend.


Welcome with Mandy Mears

Offering the sounds first on the Smith Stage was lovely and talented Mandy Mears, who has the voice of an angel and music accompaniment to compliment her tones. It was a wonderful way to welcome guests to a delightful night a music and memories!


The Adam Hill Band Brings Us to Market Stage

Next up came the first act on the Market Stage, GEM Productions welcomed The Adam Hill Band

Since meeting the six-string slinger a couple of years ago, our town has grown to love and embrace this talent. With music so powerful and gripping, matched by skilled playing and strong vocals, Adam Hill is an inventive and improvisational player loved by all of NC and beyond. Hailing from Pink Hill, the singer-songwriter was born in Potter’s Hill. Playing guitar more serious since the age of 9, Hill stays busy with his band on stages throughout the state.

For the past two years, The Adam Hill Band has been making a name for themselves and this year they are rocking festivals and bigger stages. After their performance in New Bern last week the band packed up and headed up to the West Virginia State Fair and Expo for a show at 2 pm. But before doing that the trio of rockers welcomed fans and friends to the Market stage for a captivating set of original music.

This weekend the band will be down in the Wilmington area with shows at The Whiskey, 1 S Front St., Wilmington, NC, with music starting at 10 pm. Tomorrow night they are at Bourbon Street, 35 N Front St., Wilmington, NC, with music starting at 9 pm. On Monday evening you can enjoy supper and some Adam Hill acoustic sounds, Queen Anne’s Revenge 500 Front St., Beaufort, NC on Monday, July 30, 2018. Music plays 5-9 pm. To keep up with the band or to get to know them better check out their website

Adam Hill Music


The Take Kindlies Take Over Punk Folk Jams



The second act on the Smith Stage was The Take Kindlies. This New Bern based act is a refreshingly fun, offering sounds of hard driven folk that is infused with rock grooves. This is the first time I caught them as a trio of rockers. If you missed the show, I encourage you to have a listen and support them. They have a disc of great originals that was recorded and mixed by Chris Daniels at Moon Studios in Oriental, NC.

The Take Kindlies on Bandcamp


The Oblations With Wind

The Oblations offered the second set on the Market Stage. It was a treat to hear the talented duo of Joe MacPhail vox, keys and keeping the drum beats and Daniel Fields on vocals and guitar, accompanied for the first time by Serena Wiley on saxophone and floating sounds from the flute too.

The Carrboro based duo has a CD out now and is worth checking out any time they are rocking a stage near you! Their next show is August 2, 2018, at 2nd Wind, 118 E Main St., Carrboro, NC. Music plays from 9:30-midnight.

MacPhail let me know that he teams up with Wiley for a Durham based jazz/neo-soul group called DreamRoot. Wiley is from the Henderson, NC and keeping busy with a couple of projects. She has her own band as well as filling in sounds for many other acts. To get to know her better you can check out  her website

Serena Wiley

For those interested in catching DreamRoot, they have a show coming up on Sunday at Goorsha, 910 W Main St., Durham. NC. The restaurant offers Ethiopian fare and the sounds to accompany the food will send you. Music plays from 7-10 pm.


Peace Out Peace Soldier


 Closing things out on The Smith Stage was the New Bern based classic rockers, Peace Soldier. The band did their thing and offered a set of classics to the crowd. If that is what you like then you can catch the band rocking the Brown Pelican, 411 Broad St., New Bern, NC tomorrow night. The show is free and the music is offered from 8-11 pm.

To keep up with the band check out their website:


The Brotherhood of the Brothership

The Asheville based, Travers Brothership brought us the final show of the first night at The New Bern Farmer’s Market. The quartet of blues-infused rockers gave a great show to the crowd on hand for the 2018 Bernaroo Music & Arts Festival! This synthesized and talented band offered a lot of great grooves to close out a fun night. The highlight had to be their tribute to the late great BB King. They offered a show-stopping rendition of King’s “How Blue Can You Get?”

The band has been keeping busy touring the Eastern seaboard. This weekend they are rocking crowds in Floyd, Virginia for Floyd Fest. They return to NC next week where they rock the Calico Room, 107 S Front S., Wilmington on Friday, August 3, 2018, with Dr. Bacon. Doors open at 9 pm and the music starts at 10 pm.



CTRL + ALT + DEL BAND at The Brown Pelican


When it was time to reboot, we all headed over to The Brown Pelican, 411 Broad Street, New Bern, NC, to enjoy a fun set of big brass and good beats with the Triangle-based trio Ctrl + Alt + Del Band, who came to us as Kenneth Lloyd, as Del on drums, for and Alt we had Brannon Bari Sax Bollinger playing the biggest and baddest sax I have seen to date and in Ctrl was Jeremey Danger Boomhower playing the impressive tuba.

What a fun way to end a great night of community, music, and fun. This band offers many great grooves, some familiar sounds but all done in a unique way. Based out of Mebane, NC, they are not like every other band you might see. You can keep up with the trio of enthusiastic groovers by checking them out on Facebook:


Day Two ~ Free Samples


Carolina Sky


Day Two of Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival started with a Free Show at Bear Town Market in the middle of the day. Opening the event was the bluegrass band Carolina Sky. They opened the day with a fun set of bluegrass favorites.

Though I was unable to make the first show of day two at Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival, I can tell you plenty about the band. Carolina Sky is a regionally based band with roots in New Bern, Greenville, and Raleigh. They can come as a power trio or as a freestyling quartet that offers two or three-part harmonies. Their folk-styled, bluegrass-infused fun music makes their audience tap their toes and sway their hips.  You can find the band on Facebook by following this link:

Recently the band was featured in Folks Journal. To check out that sponsors take on this fun band please visit to enjoy that great read.


From Pittsboro, NC; John Westmoreland

The first show I was able to catch was that of John Westmoreland who offered a great set of folk-infused songs that offered hints World Music as well as overtones of blues progressions.

From his website, I learned: “A musician born and raised in North Carolina, John Westmoreland has been performing professionally for over a decade. He began playing blues, rock, and folk music as a teenager and went on to study Jazz and Classical Composition at Berklee College of Music, where he was a recipient of the BEST scholarship. In 2011 he became a founding member and lead guitarist for the West-African fusion band Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, who In 2014 received a nomination for “Best African Group” by AFRIMA (the all Africa music awards). As a solo performer and songwriter John plays his own original songs, as well as unique arrangements of popular music and folk music. His musical style combines elements of Folk, World Music, Jazz. Blues and Classical into an organic and rich tapestry of sound. Outside of traditional performance contexts, John has a passion for exploring how music can facilitate deep relaxation and healing. He regularly provides music for yoga classes and meditation, relaxation music sessions for people with Alzheimers and Dementia, and also performs as part of UNC Hospital’s Door to Door music program. He’s been a past recipient of the Emerging Artists Grant from the Durham Arts Council, through which he traveled to Peru to study “Icaros”, a style of shamanic healing music from Amazonia. Last year John formed a new group called WESTMORELAND, a band that features an eclectic line up of seasoned musicians. The group performs the original music written by John featured on the forthcoming album “Cast Fire.” Currently, John is also embarking on a new project to revive the music and poetry of “T-Bone Slim” the legendary hobo songwriter and poet, whose songs were an inspiration for the Surrealist Movement and the Civil Rights Movement.”

The singer-songwriter has a couple of shows this weekend. Tonight he will perform at The Carolina Club located in Chapel Hill, NC, with music starting at 6:30 pm and tomorrow he will perform with Kiara Ba at The Rooster’s Wife in Aberdeen, NC. That show starts at 6 pm. To keep up with the artist, I encourage you to check out his website by visiting:


New Bern’s Original Rockers and Bernaroo Alumni

Bearfoot Monty

It was a fun afternoon at BTM with the final free show being offered by New Bern’s own, Bearfoot Monty. They are a heavy blues-based rock infused, alternative riffs band that found themselves surrounded by friends, family, and music lovers as they rocked the 2 pm slot with a great set of originals songs. It was inspiring to catch up with the band who is currently undergoing several personnel changes due to the players having a life and living it. New on the drums we heard Philip Wilson and starring in his brand new in the role of Daddy was guitarist Jimmy Hawkins. His wife was on hand with the couples, newborn son. Surrounded by her close friends and family Gabrielle Christie rocked the bass and vocals while Justin Hargett strong vox and guitar grit to match.

Though the band has gone through many changes since the release of their debut EP they want you to know their music is available on iTunes and Spotify, and you can find them all over social media by doing a google search of Bearfoot Monty. Please support their efforts, who knows, it might encourage the next studio release.


Bernaroo Day Two at The Farmer’s Market :

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, it marked day tow for sponsored, ticketed events at The New Bern Farmer’s Market in downtown New Bern. NC. Gates opened at 5 pm. Guests were welcomed by our vendors who were busy displaying their wares and selling their art.


Cigar Box Jesus Welcomes Music Fans


The day was greeted by warm and sunny weather, as the sky cleared from the unsettled sky the night before. The first act that welcomed patrons were The Cigar Box Jesus Revelation. They are a New Bern based outfit that came about as a result of English’s desire to make music with good friends. He was keeping busy with that lie affirmation when Merchant’s Road was making music, but with so many schedules at work, it just evolved to become this new formation and it is exciting to hear these players get together.

Rounding out the mix for their fun sound are funders, David English offering lead vocal and guitar, his beautiful bride, Lorie English offers vocals, Mark Schomaker is the lead guitar, the talented Beth D’Angelo plays bass/and adds vocals and Brian Graber works out the drums and percussion parts. For the festival, they added a little flavor by asking John Jones to accompany them on steel guitar. Jones is noted as a media sponsor as he is the host of Music Mondays on 96.3 FM airing each Monday from 8:30-9:00 am.

To keep up with the band check them out on Facebook. They are fairly new to the circuit are looking for new opportunities to play. Perhaps they would be a good fit for your next event.


JIMMY Display That Our Youth Are Actively Working On Punk’s Future As they Rocked the Market Stage

JIMMY is the band that won the battle of the bands’ competition hosted by GEM Productions at The Brown Pelican in March. Having won that honor they were selected to open day two on the Market Stage…bringing with them, a full set of rock originals this trio will be fun to watch as they rise in rank on the circuit. They give me the feeling that punk music is alive and thriving. What fun!

With a high dose of energy, this band is fun and rocking. They are a young trio climbing the ranks and touring currently with several other regional acts. Though they perform as JIMMY, no one in the band is JIMMY. At the start of the show we learned, they are all JIMMY and those watching the show were JIMMY too. This is also how we learned, the drummer has no microphone. It’s by design!

Get to know these guys, Mark on guitar, Connor on bass both on vocals and Nick on drums by checking them out on Facebook:


Fairlight with Miquela and Kyle

Holding down the middle ground on the Smith Stage were Fairlight and Miquela. The duo was accompanied by Kyle Whitford on the second set of six strings. In case you are not aware these two ladies are blues sapphires, making their home in this town. Both are old souls with a deep appreciation for the blues. They teamed up for the festival and offered a few songs by another local songwriter here in town. Cheri Moyers is a local based singer-songwriter who is working in conjunction with our local talent on a new project.

She has quite a story herself which we will delve into with here. But my favorite highlight of this woman and her mission is her survival skills. She is truly amazing.

With life always finding ways to provide, the songwriter is busy writing songs as many characters as she can muster in her head and she is scripting songs with area artist’s voices in her head at the same time. Currently, she is collaborating on songs to help benefit a charity near and dear to her heart. Recently Moyers teamed up with the Bernaroo Festival Friend Sponsor, TeraNotes Studios and they recorded a video for her song “Kiss Me Now,” featuring New Bern singer, Kelsey Barnard. They unveiled the video at Bernaroo and put out a casting call for ALL Artists to participate in a recording that will benefit the National Federation of the Blind.

Before being handed the diagnosis of a degenerative disease that is eating away at the performer’s eyesight, Moyer was the creative soul, who offered New Bern Coffee Times. As her sight dimmed, she had to find a new way to live. Reflection on one’s life always leaves us with clues for the path ahead. Moyers loved entertaining people and she is quite creative. With her sight being her best challenge she is using all her other senses to carve a new life that might benefit many.

Moyers and her musical partner in crime, Kyle Whitford have been collaborating for more than a year and they have many songs penned and paired with area artists. Case in point, at Bernaroo, Fairlight offered up a couple of her songs that will be included on the upcoming collaboration disc. My favorite song  I’ve ever heard from Moyers offered by Fairlight is “Wobbly Table.” I know many area artists are going to be a part of this effort and I will keep you all posted on the disc as we go.



For fans and friends of Fairlight and The Scorpio Moon, the band will be performing at a benefit tomorrow. Head to New Village Brewery and Tap Room for a cold brew and a bit of the blues, Saturday, July 28, 2018.

They want you to please join them for tasty NC craft brews by Carolina Brewing Company, grilled hot dogs, and live music by Fairlight & The Scorpio Moon. All in support of a wonderful local non-profit, Girls on the Run Pamlico!

The New Village Brewery will be donating $1 for every pint sold on 7/28 to Girls on the Run Pamlico, a life-changing program for girls in the 3rd through 5th grade whose mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.

Fairlight & The Scorpio Moon will perform an engaging set of jazz, blues, and rock from 5-7pm. Hot dogs will be served at 4pm.


Durty Dub’s Reggae Grooves Usher in the Evening Vibe with and Big Surprise

As things unfolded, there was a change in schedule and the after party band brought the party early to The Farmer’s Market and before the set was over they were grooving with a couple of local rhythm makers, who are a part of New Bern’s Drum Circle. It was a great offering of early evening reggae vibes that ushered in the moon and stars and set the tone of love for the night!!


Strung Together


As the bio reads, Strung Together is a family band, born on the Olivers’ front porch in downtown New Bern, NC. With soaring harmonies and a string band sound, Strung Together plays songs that they love, adapted to their own style. Playing their own unique blend of folk, Americana, old-time and bluegrass, Strung Together has enjoyed performing for audiences in North Carolina and South Carolina, making music and memories together as a family.
Strung Together is primarily the Oliver family: Cat on vocals and bass; Abigail and Mason on vocals and guitar; and their parents Dare and George on vocals and banjo. Joining them for the festival was Brian Graber on percussion and Addy Quinn on fiddle. They recently released their first CD, “The Littlest Birds,” which contains a mixture of originals and their favorite tunes and is available on iTunes and Amazon.
Strung Together:
Feel the music. Feel the love.
Strung Together has enjoyed performing at many types of events, including festivals. They made it back to town just in time for a wonderful performance on the Smith Stage. Be sure to keep up with the band catch them on a stage near you.
2018 Bernaroo Music & Arts Festival was made possible thanks to our sponsors.
One of this town’s champion sponsors of the arts is the Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC.  They help our community in so many ways with their contributions to the arts. They sponsor plays on our community stages, they contribute to ArtWalk and they sponsor many events that support music like Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival and The Great Trent River Raft Race most recently.



Shining a Light on these Artists of Light


Live Visuals provided by The Liquid Vision Light Show

The Liquid Vision Light Show is a new, but an innovative provider of lighting and visuals based in Eastern NC. LVLS delivers an immersive experience for event-goers, through a tactical combination of visual tactics and technologies. In other words, these creative geniuses have the spin on the light displays we watched behind the bands.


dub Addis Closes Out the Ticketed Events!

Closing out day two of the ticketed events dub Addis offered a fun set of grooves for the audience. They offer a great blend of sounds that keep ears happy. The Ethio-Roots Reggae Band has roots in Durham and Ethiopia. Researching the band I found this on the Facebook page:

“With soulful melodies embedded in the polyrhythm of Africa, dub Addis hails from the horn of Africa, Ethiopia. Led by Singer-songwriter Dereje Tesfaye, dub Addis has been performing original songs for the last decade. dub Addis’s songs vary from traditional Ethiopian rhythms to Roots Reggae. They have shared stages with Hugh Masekela, The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Culture, Arrested Development, Morgan Heritage, Buju Banton, Vieux Farka Toure and more.” 

What an honor to walk around our town and hear so many ethnic and original sounds. Homegrown NC talent on stage at our local Farmer’s Market was a great idea. This is just another reason why GEM Productions’, Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival stands alone in their offering. They achieve many goals in this mission of bringing music to our city.


After Show at


Young Bull Pair Up with Durty Dub for a Night of Fresh Music

Sometimes with events that involve acts that travel, there are last minute changes and adjustments to be made as the Festival happens. Case in point Young Bull was scheduled to be on stage at the Farmer’s Market, but the after party band Durty Dub took their position and then paired with the duo during the after party to bring a great set of fresh original music to the full house of music fans.

Both acts are based out of Durham with one band offering the fresh sounds of Hip Hop and the other offering the grooves and celebrations of reggae music. The blend of both was a real treat and the cherry on top for the two days of sponsored music events.


BIG Shout Out to The Beer Guy

Local Libations 



In the fall of 2015, after the recent closure of a homebrew supply store that had operated in the area for many years, local home brewers Tim Dryden and Bryan Conway came to the realization that there was a need in the New Bern/James City area for a homebrew supplier. Their local club was forced to drive long distances or have their ingredients shipped in from other states in order to enjoy their hobby. They sat down and discussed the possibilities of filling the need by opening a small mail-order homebrew supply business. As the idea took shape, they realized there was also a need for a craft beer bar and bottle shop. So, in February of 2016, they filled the need by opening the doors of BrÜtopia!

Since then the love and support they have received from local homebrewers and craft beer lovers, have helped fuel the dream and keep it growing. In the back of many homebrewers minds is always the dream that someday they could actually let others enjoy their beer by turning their hobby into an actual brewery and sharing their homebrewed creations with everyone. So, with the encouragement and backing of their family of patrons, they began the process of building a plan to open a brewery. The support was incredible! In February of 2018, on the 2-year anniversary of the original store’s opening, BrÜtopia Brewing Company served their first pint of beer to the public. Since then they have enjoyed brewing some of their favorites, as well as some new recipes that they have always wanted to try.

BrÜtopia Brewing Company is still growing and making plans for expanding, hopefully, to allow the beer to be appreciated outside of its location in James City! At Bernaroo Music and Arts Festival,  BrÜtopia served a sampling of some of their creations to include Aji Pepper Ale; an amber ale brewed with Aji chiles from Peru. Warm and flavorful, it leaves a little burn, but don’t let that scare you. The James City IPA; a New England IPA, their take on the latest style to sweep the nation, a juicy grapefruit flavor, cloudy and delicious.  Mild Mia English Mild; an easy drinking English Mild beer that won’t disappoint. English malts are well-balanced, to bring out a chocolate accent and just enough hops not to disappoint.  The beer I sampled while on site was the 50 Shades of Cream Ale; smooth, light, refreshing with an ever so slight bitterness. Great summer beer or year-round.

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

Festival Partners:




Festival Media Partner:


Thanks for reading!

Our Presenting Sponsor:


Presenting Media Sponsor:


Music Monday 96.3 FM on Facebook

Friends of the Festival Sponsors:

Black Cat Shoppe

TeraNote Studios Logo[7232]


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Thank You To Our Printing Sponsors



ABC Signs & Graphics


Thanks for Supporting Live Music from your Friends at Bernaroo Music & Arts Festival 




The Time Is Now!

  Be A Sponsor ♦ Be A Vendor  ♦  Be A Music Supporter

2019 BernarooMusic and Arts Festival

Please reach out at to be a part of this affordable community fun event happening at The Farmer’s Market in Downtown New Bern next year!

Tomorrow We Close the Curtain on Bernaroo and Rock in Other Regions Too

Tomorrow we will start things off with the final curtain call for the festival as we look at what’s new in the world of Alisa Mike and Hank Barbee. Both artists helped GEM Productions close out the festival with a show at Circa 1810 Bar at The Harvey Mansion last Sunday. Tomorrow we will pick things up there when I see you then.

Besides sponsoring this music festival last weekend I also presented my third concert in the park, a series I am doing in my local community. Come back to hear more on that and to rock this town!

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Answering the Call

Checking things out around the rest of the region, I ask my Facebook followers each week where we can go to hear them play. This is what they said this week

July 23 at 2:52 PM

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Facebook Events Link
Here are all the great music options for you on Facebook this week. Check out all of the events here and express interest in the ones you like.

Live Music Events Around NC from Facebook
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Thanks for Reading!
Please go out and support live music!  Always call the club in advance to confirm what you read here is true. Many times events change without anyone updating the Facebook event created.

I am dedicated to making sure you know where to go to find it. If you like this blog please sign up and get an email each time we publish.


Getting Down Around Town Tonight


Tiffany Elaine is at BrÜtopia 7-10 pm, Aaron C. Davenport is at The Thirsty Bruin 8-10:30 pm Paul Picard is picking the strings at The Brown Pelican 7-10 pm tonight, Dueling Pianos at Circa1810 Bar at the Harvey Mansion $5 cover. and at Blackbeard’s Triple Play Restaurant they have Greasy Beats 7-10 outside and Rural Route Romance inside from 10 pm til closing. Also happening tonight,  at Union Point Park; it is another installation of the Summer Concert Series, Footloose on the Neuse, with tonight’s offering by Parrot Party. Brush up on you Buffet, bring the beach umbrella and dance shoes. This is free with music starting at 6:30 thanks to our parks and rec dept and Trent Cadillac.



I appreciate my readers, the musicians and the venues who all do a part in keeping live music alive! Give us a like and tell your friends by sharing this page on your social media pages. To the many bands and clubs, thanks for keeping me informed!

Take kindness with you today, tip those that serve you and the music makers that rock you and hug people often and share the love. Don’t forget life is short and could end in a moment. Make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Please party safely people! We love having you here with us! Rely on your sober friends, call a cab or sign up to Uber around!

Look for me on Facebook by following this link:
Feel free to invite me to your events. If you have a budget for advertising, please consider promoting your next event with me.

I read emails daily. You can send those to:
Please include the day, the date, the time of the event, the time of your scheduled performance, what time doors open and the price of tickets. Sending along pictures is helpful. Please send links to band websites so I can post those as well. Thanks so much for helping me reach the people!


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