Born out of the heyday of beach music in the Carolinas, The Fantastic Shakers will celebrate 36 years of shaking and shimming this September. But before that milestone, the band will play the 11th annual N.C. Blueberry Festival, marking its return visit to Burgaw. Keyboardist Freddy Tripp has been with the band since 1986 and said that having roots in coastal Carolina makes any trip to the region a rewarding journey.
Q: Have The Fantastic Shakers ever played the Blueberry Festival before?
A: I know we played the festival in 2005 and 2010. So this will be our third year.
Q: Do you guys enjoy making the trip to perform in the area?
A: Oh yeah! We love the Wilmington area. We don’t play there quite as much as we do other places, since we are based in Charlotte, but we do love to get down there.
Q: The Fantastic Shakers have a rich history in the coastal Carolina region, including a beach music classic, “Myrtle Beach Days.” After all these years, do you guys still find joy in playing for this area?
A: Of course! We were just up in Atlantic Beach at a big festival and we played Wilmington numerous times. We have done the Azalea Festival and a lot of other functions in the area over the years. And of course, the Myrtle Beach area and the Grand Strand has been our second home for years and years. We have run the full gambit up and down the Carolina coast. From Charleston to Manteo, we have hit them all. (laughs)
Q: For your shows, you are known for mixing it up a bit and playing notable songs from other artists like Elvis Presley and The Temptations. Is spanning genres just another way of making your performances entertaining?
A: We are known for our beach music, but the kind of show we put on in Myrtle Beach may not be the same show we put on at the Blueberry Festival because we have a more diverse crowd. There will be people at the festival who like beach music, but there will also be people who want to dance. You have to mix it up when you play the beach festivals.
Q: Although you play a variety of music, does being rooted in beach music make it the favorite genre of the band?
A: I’ll say this. Beach music has been good to us, but we like playing whatever makes people smile and whatever makes people dance. We probably won’t do the chicken dance, but we will hit a little bit of everything else.
Want to go?
The Fantastic Shakers will perform at 6 p.m. June 21 on the Blueberry Festival Main Stage (Courthouse Square)
The show is free. For more information, visit ncblueberryfestival.com.