Friday, June 16, 2006

Ocrafolk Festival, New Album Releases and Summer Events on Ocracoke Island

Many apologies for the long break in newsletters. Once Ocrafolk Festival preparation sets in, we have great difficulty on concentrating on anything else. This year’s Ocrafolk Festival (June 2-4) was a wonderful homecoming for many performers, artisans, and island friends. Bands of thunderstorms swept Ocracoke way for the weekend, so Gary and Fiddler Dave made the call on Friday to hold Saturday events at Ocracoke School and then move outside for Sundays’ activities. Ideally they would have liked to of held all performances outside under the beautiful live oaks, but it is hard to argue with mother nature. The weekend blossomed into a beautiful festival -- successful musically, spiritually, and financially. Here is a summary of what has been happening!

On Ocracoke Island
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North Carolina Coastal Land Trust Opens the Springer’s Point Preserve
On Saturday May 20th, the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust held the grand opening of the Springer’s Point Preserve on Ocracoke Island. The preserve represents one of the last undeveloped spots on Ocracoke outside of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The protected 31 acres features rambling footpaths through maritime forest that lead the visitor under a live oak canopy where Blackbeard and his fellow pirates held one of the greatest pirate gatherings in the continental US.

The weekend featured kayak tours, native led walking tours, and a reception at the Back Porch Restaurant with music provided by Molasses Creek. Thanks to all the volunteers and donors who helped to make this mission and the weekend a success. To find out more about the NC Coastal Land Trust’s Springer’s Point Campaign and how to add your support, visit their website at

Ocrafolk Festival Weekend a Great Success
June 2-4 brought the much anticipated, 7th annual Ocrafolk Festival. This event represents a great labor of love of Gary Mitchell and Fiddler Dave, as well as countless other volunteers. This year’s event brought joy and entertainment to presenters, performers and visitors and set new financial records for fundraising.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Ocrafolk Festival, the celebration is an extravaganza that features performers and artisans from the coastal Carolina region. All parts of the festival are free and open to the public with events sponsored by private individuals and corporations, as well as funds gathered through the Ocrafolk Festival Live and Silent Auctions.

New happenings at this year’s Ocrafolk included the moving of the live auction from Sunday afternoon to Friday night after the community potluck (this year’s live auction netted over $5000 ~ a new record by $2000!), a waiter/waitress rumble on Sunday (competition for the quickest, most accurate, and smoothest server), a fig cake bake off (won by Debbie Wells, Janet Spencer, and the Flying Melon Restaurant), wooden skiff building with Jimmy Amspacher of the Harker’s Island Waterfowl Museum, and a bicycle design workshop hosted by the Ocracoke Youth Center and Family Planning Resource Center.

New performers at this year’s festival included the Carolina Still band from New Bern, Donald Thompson (bluesman from La Grange, NC), The Flatland Bluegrass Band of Greenville, the Mya Wilkins Band of Ocracoke, Katy Mitchell and the Mumphries of Ocracoke, Serge Gracovetsky and Fiddler Dave playing jazz, and an Ocrafolk Women Songwriting Circle. If you are interested in keeping up to date with Ocrafolk Festival happenings, visit their website at Next year’s event will be June 1-3, 2007.

Fiddler Dave’s “The Cormorant” and “Ocrafolk Sampler 3: Festival Favorites” released!

Two new albums hot off the press for this year’s Ocrafolk Festival are now available through Soundside Records. Fiddler Dave’s second all-instrumental release “The Cormorant” is a compendium of original reels, jigs, hornpipes, and waltzes that will have ya dippin’ & swinging from Ocracoke Island all the way back to the homeplace. Joined by Dave Wiesler on piano and guitar, Jubal Creech on percussion, and a host of other friends, Fiddler Dave has polished this recording with his driving fiddle and sweet original melodies – it will surely secure a favored spot in your musical heart.

“Ocrafolk 3: Festival Favorites” winds down the stellar path of it’s Ocrafolk predecessors featuring some fabulous tracks from many of this year’s Ocrafolk artists. The new faces of Carolina Still and bluesman Donald Thompson join Molasses Creek, Martin Garrish, Coyote, Noah Paley, Katy Mitchell, Anne Haley, John Golden, Jule Garrish, Bob Zentz, and Capt. Rob and Sundae Horn to weave a rich musical tapestry. This recording will evoke the Ocrafolk spirits of island ~ conjuring up dancing feet, fish house liars, clam chowder and fig cakes. It is like a trip to Ocracoke Island without the driving!

To find out more about these albums and more visit the Soundside Records website at

Open Season at Molasses Creek’s Deepwater Theater

The week of June 6, Molasses Creek threw open the doors of Deepwater Theater, welcoming visitors to a new season of shows. This year’s lineup features a new show on Tuesdays. . . Rumgagger with Capt. Rob Temple and Fiddler Dave . . . the Ocrafolk Opry on Wednesdays, and Molasses Creek on Thursdays.

RumgaggerTall tales, poems, and music from the high seas with the salty skipper Captain Rob and Fiddler Dave. Sure to hook ya!

Ocrafolk Opry -- A musical buffet of the wonderful talent present on tiny Ocracoke Island. Features such renown local musicians as Martin Garrish, Coyote, Roy Parsons, Capt. Rob & Sundae, Philip Howard, Katy Mitchell, and Molasses Creek.

Molasses CreekOcracoke’s own is back entertaining audiences with a mix of new and classic songs, wackiness and soulful musicianship. “They exude sheer joy and talent when it comes to entertaining . . . I hail them as a North Carolina Treasure.” -- Davie Arts Council.

For show details visit the Molasses Creek website a

Katy Mitchell Graduates from High School

Katy Mitchell, daughter of Gary & Kitty Mitchell of Molasses Creek, donned her cap and gown last Sunday as a member of Ocracoke School’s graduating class of 2006. The entire village came out to congratulate the 5 members of this year’s senior class and to wish them the best as they enter the next stage of their lives. Katy received several scholarships and awards, including a scholarship for volunteerism from the Credit Union in the amount of $2500 for the next four years of school. Katy will be attending the Watauga Program at Appalachian State University in the fall. Molasses Creek will try to pick up as many mountain gigs as possible so that we can kidnap her from her studies to perform!

Gove Shrivenor Comes to Deepwater Theater on Friday July 7

Singer-songwriter guitarist and autoharpist Gove Schrivenor will be coming to Deepwater Theater on July 7. Local musician extraordinaire, Kevin Hardy, ran across Gove while traveling off of Ocracoke and knew he had to bring him for a concert at home.

Gove’s playing has graced the recordings of Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Dan Seals, Hank Williams, Jr., Iris Dement and Glen Campbell. Doc Watson, John Hartford, Marty Stuart, Buddy Emmons, John Prine, Nanci Griffith and Lari White in turn have all joined Gove’s recordings over the years, Gove pens songs that are “full of life and energy.” For advance tickets and concert information contact Kevin Hardy at 252-588-0059 or Find out more about Gove at

Off Ocracoke Island
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Public Radio East Show May 21
On Sunday, May 21, Finley Woolston of Public Radio East put together a wonderful benefit concert for our Eastern Carolina Public Radio network. Along with Molasses Creek, the concert featured Finley Woolston’s Sine Nominee Singers, jazz artists Andrea and Phil Owens, the Sons of Dixie, and classical artists Charles and Joanne Bath, Greg Hurley, Wendy Bissinger, Sharon Munden, and John O Brien. Public Radio East already has plans for another event next year . . . we’ll let ya know what we hear! For more information visit

Celebrate Our State at High Point with Noah Paley
Hatteras Singer Songwriter Noah Paley was a featured performer at Our State Magazine’s Best of Our State festival in High Point, NC on June 10. Noah’s performance entourage included Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro of Coyote, bassist Robbie Link of Chapel Hill, and Fiddler Dave Tweedie of Molasses Creek. Festival performers also included Doc Watson and David Holt, the Chairmen of the Board, Lightnin Wells, Bruce Piephoff, and others. A great time was had by all!

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