It’s once again that time of the year when Five Points in Columbia is full of emerald-clad revellers thronging around stages of some of our best musicians. The St. Pat’s in Five Points festival is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year on Saturday, March 18th and if you’ve ever attended, you know you are in for a marathon of great music, food and drinks… along with some of the best people-watching in the state. Five stages bring both national and regional talent and the headliners this year range from the newer names like the soul-rocking St. Paul & the Broken Bones and country singer Michael Ray to perrenial crowd favorites like the alt-rock Superchunk and the still vital southern rock of Drivin’ n Cryin’, who are featuring Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish on guitar for this performance. The Silent Disco returns again with its crowd of head-phone groovers listening to some great DJs.
As I learned last year, bring/wear some sun-screen. The weather looks to be a little cloudy and brisk (mostly in the 50s) as of this writing, but that’s not far from the 2016 edition and I regretted not protecting my skin beforehand, even in that environment. Cameras are allowed and encouraged; the Selfie Contest is on once again – tag your photos on social media with #StPatsSelfie2017 and possibly win a $100 gift card of your choice. Comfortable shoes are in order, because you will probably be trekking from stage to stage through the day and charging your phone beforehand is a must, although there will again be a central information / charging hub available (The Cube).
I saw several young adults learning the limits of their drinking abilities the hard way last year. If you know yours, more power to you. If you are still figuring it out, best to take it slow because it’s a long day of music. Festivals can be pretty brutal if you drink too much. There are lots of places to grab some food or just a drink of water – they will be happy to help you reach the finish line with the headliners at the end of the day. If you bought a ticket, you are entitled to a $10 cab voucher from Checker Yellow Cab, so keep that in mind after the fest is over.
Back to the food – you’ve got some of the best fare in town. Lots of top local restaurants are in the festival area along with food truck options. This year the meals on wheels will be from Pawley’s Front Porch, Realmexico (guess where I will be?), Size Matters BBQ Plus and Chirba Chirba Dumpling.
Parking can be a roll of the dice sometimes. You can park and ride for free from shuttles running every 20 minutes to and from the fest. Those are located at Memorial Stadium (Rosewood), Lincoln Garage (across from CPD HQ) or Fairgrounds RV Parking.
Now the important stuff, the live music. In addition to the headliners mentioned before, there is an amazing amount of South Carolina music this year. Here is the artist lineup for each of the stages and a map showing their locations relative to each other.
Villanova – Local and nationally known heroes of grooved-out funk rock
The Mobros – Brotherly duo create a unique take on soulful garage/blues rock
The Dirty Gone Dolas – Americana/ folk string band made up of local greats
The Cosmic Possums – Some stellar local bluegrass pickers
The Post-Timey String Band – Duo has a quirky modern take on folk/ ragtime
The Boomtown Waifs – Local folk supergroup
Lauren Hall – Up and coming country songstress
See Water – Reggae/ ska/ punk straight from the coast
Moose Kick – A fine mix of southern rock and funk
Marytree – Souped-up grunge metal
The High Divers – The indie folk band is poised to be the next big SC thing
All Get Out – Indie rocker favorites return home for this show
Little Bird – Blending surf rock and jazz
The Travelin’ Kine – One of the best southern rock/ country bands in the state
Due to the lineups, it’s pretty much impossible to see them all, so choose wisely. The Mobros, the High Divers, All Get Out and the Travelin’ Kine are all on many fans must-see lists and I will probably follow suit in checking them out. If you see a guy in glasses and a South Carolina Music Guide hat taking pictures in front of the stage, you can buy him a drink for all his hard work.
For complete details on St. Pat’s in Five Points, you can visit the official website: St. Pats in Five Points
Sean Knight is a native South Carolinian who has spent his life bouncing back and forth between SC and Texas, playing in bands you probably never heard of in both states and stinking up open-mic nights in the Low Country for many years. He plays, collects, listens to and probably spends too much of his life obsessing over music.