Groove ‘N BrewFest is this weekend

By Andrew Wigger -

NEWBERRY — This Saturday will be the Newberry Downtown Development Association’s inaugural Groove ‘N BrewFest, which will be from 1-10 p.m. on Main Street from Holman to College Street. This will be a 70’s and 80’s music festival.

“We want people to dress up, costumes, hair, the works,” said Meri Ellen Ringer, president of the NDDA. “Illusions is going to do big hair for The Ritz. They’ll have a place to get your hair curled, or done up.”

There will be 25 regional craft beers during the festival. Aimee Talbot, vice president of the NDDA, said they are mostly from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, with a few others sprinkled in.

“All beer has to be poured into a festival cup, it’s free to come to the street festival, and we encourage everyone to please come, enjoy the outdoor music that will be playing all day, 1-10 p.m. It’s free to come and participate, and be in the street,” she said. “If you’d like to drink beer, there is a five dollar cover charge, includes over 21 wristband, and a festival cup. There will also be a beer passport, that is 10 three and a half ounce tastes, and that’s $20.”

The last call for beer will be 9 p.m.

Talbot said craft beer will go great with any type of food, and there will be plenty of food. There will be a wide assortment, from hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian ice, barbecue, seasoned fries, wurst dogs and much more.

“We are encouraging everyone to wander down Main Street and explore the different tents and food options,” she said.

During the festival Astwood Park will be the host of the outdoor stage. There will be two bands playing outside during the festival. That will also be the location for the Karaoke and Costume Contests, which Z93 The Lake will host.

“We asked them to play 70 and 80’s music throughout the day,” Talbot said.

There will also be interactive entertainment for guest to participate in.

There will be two headline bands playing inside The Ritz, beginning at 6 p.m. with Heartbreaker, a Led Zeppelin Tribute Band followed by Rumors ATL and a Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band, at 8 p.m.

“If you’d like to see the headline bands inside The Ritz, I strongly suggest buying tickets early. You can do that at the Opera House or visiting our website (,” Talbot said.

Advance tickets are $40, which includes the two bands inside The Ritz, the festival cup, wristband and one beer. Advance VIP tickets include all of that, plus early seating and VIP bathrooms. The day of the festival it is $50 and does not include beer.

The streets will be closed off for Groove ‘N BrewFest beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. There will be lots of free parking, and there will also be paid parking behind Pour Richards.

Groove ‘N BrewFest’s main purpose is to help improve the east end of Main Street.

“The Newberry Downtown Development Association is a collection of private residents, business owners, property owners, who want to make downtown Newberry a better place. Our idea is to stimulate economic development downtown, to create economic development grants. We are raising money to go into a pot to do grants, to stimulate the economy downtown,” Talbot said.

Talbot added that the first grantee they hope will apply is The Ritz Theater. The Newberry Community Players have been invited to do so, so they can buy a permanent sound system.

“The idea being that they will have a tool to create revenue to bring money in to help get better seats, renovate the building, to improve the building,” she said. “If The Ritz is a full functioning 100% of the time business, not just a few times a year, but all the time, it will be a key economic driver for downtown, like the Opera House became 20 years ago.”

The idea is that The Ritz will attract more businesses on the east end of downtown. The second tier idea is to have people living above Main Street, but that is a long term project.

By Andrew Wigger

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.