FacebookTwitterPinterestYouTubeGoogle PlusInstagram

JCVB Blog

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau BLOG is published weekly with news and feature articles on visiting the county.
Featured

Nappy Roots to Headline Mondo Roots

Nappy Roots to Headline Mondo Roots

Mondo Roots is bringing art and music back to the streets of Clayton this summer. The festival is in its 2nd year, aiming to celebrate diversity and empower the community. On Saturday June 3rd, Main Street and will be full of local artists selling their art, and a select few will be doing live demonstrations. In addition, musical acts will be preforming throughout the day with a DJ spinning in between sets. This all culminates in the headlining act at 7:25 PM which this year will be Nappy Roots – a best-selling hip-hop group that emerged in the early 2000s and has been cranking out music ever since.

Craft beer, wine, and food truck vendors will be on-hand throughout the day. The event officially starts at noon and goes till around 8:00PM. Pets, children, and sundry are welcome. This is a not-to-be-missed festival drawing locals and visitors to Downtown Clayton. I spoke to one of Mondo’s organizers, Dave Brown, about the festival. Dave owns Earth Plow Productions and works to secure the bands for the event. Mondo Roots is a Clayton Visual Arts event.

Nappy Roots?! Amazing! How did such a headliner come about?

Nappy Roots was always who I envisioned headlining this festival from its inception.  The goal of Mondo Roots was always to help unify a community and be true to our “roots” here in this part of the state.  Nappy is such a great fit on all counts. They are humble, they rap about things that are very familiar to this area of the state, and they have a very positive message, and to boot, they are just all around great people.  


 
Shindig is another music-centric festival in Clayton in the Fall and has had Grammy-winning headliners. Do you feel that booking higher-caliber talent causes attendance growth or that organic festival growth allows for the attraction of big talent?

I believe they work hand in hand.  There is a balance that has to happen, we have always prided ourselves on getting the right headliner for the right crowd size estimation and genre.  Of course, we have been very fortunate with both of our festivals getting great talent that peaked at the right time.  We always have our eye on the “next big thing”.  
 
You work to blend musical genres at Mondo, what are you looking for when you start the signing process with the line-up every year?

Originality, relevance, and musicianship!  Mondo gives us the ability to really stretch the boundaries of genres, whereas the Shindig is Americana and Bluegrass, Mondo is about every culture and every genre so the canvas is blank so to speak for choosing the music.
 
Tell me a little bit about the VIP package this year.

Well, if you want to get a chance to meet and mingle with the bands, and if you like free beer samples provided by Foothills and most importantly if you like shade and comfort the VIP tent is for you.  There was a strong demand last year for a “next level” seating area with some amenities, we answered that call by providing the VIP tent.  $20 and you are in, best deal in town, AND the proceeds go to House of Hope – a local charity that helps abused and troubled girls.
 
Beyond the music, Mondo is a celebration of the arts. What's happening this year at the festival as far as art goes?

We have so many artists there it is going to be pretty impressive for our town.  The CVA has done a great job jurying the artist row, and making sure that we have truly handcrafted original works of art.  We also have a feature artist area where some remarkable artists in the area are going to be performing live art demonstrations.  Those include Clark Hipolito, a Clayton-Raleigh area native. We’ll also have Victor Knight III out again, he is a very accomplished and well known graffiti artist in the area.  They will join 3 others on the main lawn for an all-day demo.


 
What's a good estimate for how attendance has grown from year to year? How many people came last year?

We estimated our attendance of just over 1,500 last year, we expect a fairly large jump this year as have added more to the musical lineup and plus the natural maturation process that happens with festivals.  
 
Do you know where attendees are coming from? Local? Regional? Out of state?

Everywhere, I would say that a large portion are local, but I know we have people coming from Virginia, South Carolina and even Tennessee this year.  That’s what happens when you put high grade talent on a stage for free and for a good cause.
 
What makes Clayton the perfect place to host festivals like this?

I think the biggest thing that makes it a good spot to throw festivals is its proximity to Raleigh and other surrounding areas.  Plus, since the beginning of our festival days Clayton as a community has been very supportive.  In addition, being tucked in a center of a town with historic buildings acting as a backdrop gives us a great canvas to paint this festival on!  

For more information visit www.mondoroots.com. The festival itself and all entertainment is free, but if you’re interested in the VIP experience go here.

 

Continue reading
317 Hits

The Art of the Cocktail is Being Revived in Clayton

The Art of the Cocktail is Being Revived in Clayton

When you think of a bartender in these modern times you probably imagine a harassed, busy, maybe friendly person hastily taking orders and doling out drinks behind the counter in any given restaurant, tavern, or club. At their best bartenders are welcoming, knowledgeable about the drink menu, and attentive. At their worst, they are rude, short, apathetic and happy to serve you a hastily-mixed version of whatever you ordered.

We can blame this iteration of the bartender on prohibition (like so many other things). But before prohibition a bartender was a sort of Renaissance man, able to expertly serve his bar patrons a concoction fit for their preferences and tastes while understanding enough about each of them to know where along the bar to linger, to listen, or to avoid. He was an artist who knew enough about his craft to make the best popular drinks of that era and to even create his own recipes.

“An excellent bartender can read their customers – they recognize what they want, when they need space or when they need attention. Beyond detailed service, bartending means a deep understanding of ingredients combined with proper execution.”

That definition comes straight from Zack Thomas, bartender and Renaissance man himself. Zack is the Bar Manager and Beverage Director at Clayton’s brand new jazz-influenced cocktail lounge Revival 1869. Revival will be opening the 24th of this month and is the culmination of more than a year’s hard work on the part of owners and entrepreneurs Mike Stojic and Maleah Christie. Both of them immediately knew Zach would the perfect person to be the face of their lounge.



Zack’s background includes work at Foundation, a popular Raleigh nightlife spot. Born in Boston, Zack moved to Raleigh in the early 90s and then back to Boston for college where he started bartending. When asked why he then moved back to Raleigh again, he said it was because he missed it too much.

“I felt at the time that Raleigh was experiencing a cultural revolution, which is also sort of the same feeling that’s led me to Clayton and to Revival. There is a feeling here of being on the cusp of something. The idea that Clayton could have a true nightlife scene is something people are excited for, and I think that what Mike and Maleah are doing with Revival is going to be the moment that kicks it all into full gear.”

So, what will visitors to Revival 1869 experience? Well, excellently crafted cocktails for one. And hot jazz music for another. The bar will feature classic cocktails like the Sazerac, the Old Fashioned, and the Hemingway Daiquiri. A seasonal menu will also feature all original cocktails created in-house. Limited beer, wine, and food items will be available, all with trends towards local and regional sourcing. For example, you’ll certainly be able to find Broadslab Distillery products on the menu. Music will also be a huge focus at Revival. There will be live jazz music every Saturday night and alternating Thursday nights will feature jazz jam sessions and solo pianists and vocalists.



Mike is excited for what Zack and Revival can bring to Clayton’s downtown scene, “We want to go back to the visionary aspects of what cocktail making was 80 to 100 years ago, and get back to treating it like an art.”

Which brings us back to the resurgence of the career bartender. The best our modern-day vernacular can muster up is mixologist. Which makes them sound like alcohol chemists. Which they are. But, they are also so much more. The bartenders you’ll find at Revival, including Zack, will be passionate and meticulous.

According to Zack, his vision for Revival is, “to reintroduce the cocktail culture to Johnston County, which has a long history of spirits. I want Revival to be an interpersonal place of great cocktails shared among people who have a love for good drinks, community, and history. I also want our service to be on-point every single time – fresh ingredients, fresh juices squeezed in-house daily, and a knowledgeable staff.”

Finally, the most important question. What is Zack’s favorite drink? A Rum Manhattan, as it turns out, for its rich, decadent, funky vibe. This could also easily describe the atmosphere at Revival. It’s soon to be one of your favorite places to visit in Johnston County.

There used to places you could go to relax and unwind. Where you could lounge with friends and discuss important or whimsical things. Where the bartender was a magician and every glass full of his own special brand of magic. Where the gin was cold and the piano hot.

And now, in downtown Clayton, there will be again. You could call it a revival.

___________________________________________

Stay tuned-in to everything going on at Revival 1869 by following their Facebook page. Revival will open its doors to the public on Friday and Saturday evening March 24th and 25th. They will be closed Sunday the 26th. After that, regular hours will be Thursday through Sunday with exact times to be announced.

Continue reading
4139 Hits

Blues Giant James “Superharp” Cotton Headlines Clayton’s Sixth Annual Blues Bash

All shows in the 2010-2011 Palladian Series begin at 8 p.m. in the renovated and historic 600-seat auditorium at 111 E. Second St. in downtown Clayton, located about 15 miles east of Raleigh.

Tickets for Blues Bash VI: Superharps can be purchased by phone at 919-553-1737, at The Clayton Center Box Office from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.theclaytoncenter.com.

CLAYTON, N.C – Between his huge sound, his larger-than-life personality and his massive frame, Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master James “Superharp” Cotton is a blues giant in every respect.

Cotton, who in 2010 celebrates his 66th year as a professional musician, headlines The Clayton Center’s Blues Bash VI: Superharps on Friday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. The event also features local Piedmont bluesmen Tad Walters Trio.

Over the course of his 66-year career, James Cotton has seemingly done it all. As a small boy he learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson. He toured with Howlin’ Wolf, recorded for Sun Records and spent 12 years with Muddy Waters before stepping out on his own. Leading his own band, he rose to the very top of the blues and rock scenes, touring the world non-stop and earning his reputation as one of the most powerful live blues performers in the world.

Cotton was universally renowned as one of the hardest-touring and most popular blues artists of the 1970s. His acrobatic showmanship – he often did somersaults on stage – and full-throttle blues kept him in demand at concert halls all over the country. He continued to record and perform throughout the 1980s and won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his album Deep In The Blues.

Cotton’s honors are numerous. He was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 2006 and was honored by the Smithsonian Institution when one of his harmonicas was added to its permanent collection.

Throughout this decade, Cotton has continued to record – his latest release is the 2010 Giant (Alligator Records) – and tour relentlessly, electrifying audiences all over the world. Today, while turning over the singing duties to his road band, Cotton can still blow the reeds right out of a harp.

Tad Walters, who was born in Canton, Ohio, and raised in Raleigh, was influenced by the likes of Blind Boy Fuller, Robert Lockwood, Charlie Patton, Robert Nighthawk and John Jackson, among others. He began his professional music career with the Bob Margolin Band in 1996. For four years he traveled the world with the band, playing with musicians like Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Billy Boy Arnold and Cary Bell.

In 2001 Walters joined the Big Bill Morganfield band and stayed until 2004. He currently concentrates on Piedmont blues and old-time jazz with Dave Andrews.

All shows in the 2010-2011 Palladian Series begin at 8 p.m. in the renovated and historic 600-seat auditorium at 111 E. Second St. in downtown Clayton, located about 15 miles east of Raleigh.

Tickets for Blues Bash VI: Superharps can be purchased by phone at 919-553-1737, at The Clayton Center Box Office from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at www.theclaytoncenter.com.

The fifth show in the Palladian Series is Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel on Saturday, Feb. 26. Reserved seating for Tommy Emmanuel is sold out. Standing Room Only tickets are on sale for $15.

Continue reading
1468 Hits

Beer Wine & Shine Trail

beer wine and shine trail logo

Travel around the county to four award-winning wineries, two breweries and get a taste of brandy along the way!  Receive a Free $30 coupon book when you complete the trail.

Read more...

Meeting Planners

meeting venue with presentation screen

Johnston County offers conveniently located and affordable conference facilities for meetings, reunions, and unique destination weddings sites.  Why not select a historic home or horse farm for your next event?

Read more...

Group Tour Operators

girl with camera in travel group

Groups have discovered exits along I-40 and I-95 for outlet shopping, music theatre, museums and heritage sites.  Call today for custom itinerary planning.

Read more...

Hotel Packages

hotel bed and pillow with johnston county logo

We have created several special hotel packages including a Girlfriends Getaway for outlet shopping, we know you need a break and great deals on shoes!  Click here to book your getaway today.

Read more...

hospitality heroes logo

FREE TRAINING

 

Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
Go to top