Sunday, July 10, 2016
What's Your Pleasure at Rhythm In Riverview?
THIS STORY COURTESY THE KINGSPORT TIMES-NEWS
By CALVIN SNEED
Last year, a severe thunderstorm moved the featured musical act inside the nearby V.O. Dobbins Community Center gymnasium. Two years ago, heavy rain interrupted the event for about 30 minutes. But the weather has not stopped Rhythm in Riverview from getting bigger because more people keep coming back.
“Rhythm In Riverview is an integral part of our yearly activities,” says Kingsport Fun Fest Director Lucy Fleming. “Anytime we can have an event outside the main Fun Fest venue that includes music, entertainment, fun, food and activities for children is wonderful. Rhythm In Riverview attracts people of all cultures and all ages to come outside and play during the summer. We absolutely love it.”
Some familiar faces will be back on the entertainment stage this year. Liquid Pleasure, the multitalented, high-octane soul, rock and funk music group from Chapel Hill, N.C., has been invited back to the main stage at the V.O. Dobbins ball field. Last year’s sudden thunderstorm not only moved their show inside the gym, but it also shortened the band’s performance.
“The rain caught us off guard,” says band spokesman Kenny Mann. “We still had a great show inside, but I felt that the people did not get a chance to experience a lot of Liquid Pleasure. Inside the gym was good, but we’re looking forward to coming back and doing a great show on the outdoor stage. Of course, weather permitting,’’ he laughed.
“We just wanted to give the band a chance to come back, and show everybody what they can do,” Fleming says. “Their female lead singer was doing Tina Turner better than Tina Turner. We heard from a lot of people who told us they wanted to hear them again, and the band is back because of that demand for them. Until that thunderstorm, they were doing great.”
So, “weather permitting,” what will the crowds get with Liquid Pleasure this time around?
“You’re going to get a show that’s going to make you want to dance,” Mann says. “Before we play the first song, we sort of scan the audience, looking at the faces in the crowd. We always tailor our songs on the fly based on who’s come to hear us, especially the families. We look out and we see a 65-yearold grandmother. ... We know she’ll want to hear some Al Green. Her daughter probably needs to hear some Earth, Wind and Fire. The granddaughter we know is a Montell Jordan fan. The 10-year old great-granddaughter is nothing but Beyonce. They all get what they want, because we know our audience.”
Surprisingly, you’re also going to get some Disney. Not Disney music, but the Disney technique.
“My biggest influence on music presentation believe it or not, was Walt Disney,” Mann says. “He wanted to have everybody involved in any musical event at his parks. Disney has songs that you can sing to. We have songs you can dance to. People are always talking about how they can jam at Rhythm In Riverview. You’re going to get the best of Liquid Pleasure in Kingsport, just like you’d get the best of Disney down in Florida.”
Rhythm In Riverview, which is scheduled for Monday, July 18, has always related to family entertainment .
“The activities this time start around 3 p.m. with the Kids Zone,” says event coordinator Johnnie Mae Swagerty, director of the South Central Kingsport Community Development Corporation. “We’ll have inflatables for the middle kids, a bubble factory for the smaller ones, and a football toss for the older children sponsored by the National Guard Armory. The FSNB Bank is having face painting for the kids, and this year, their parents can get their faces painted too. There’s also corn hole, basketball, the Riverview Splash Pad activities from Kingsport Parks and Rec, and also the toilet roll.”
Whoa, Johnnie Mae. What’s a toilet roll?
“It’s more of a mummy roll,” she laughs. “Kids get to completely wrap their parents or friends or whomever in toilet paper. We’ve done it before, and the kids just love it. We’re always looking for new ways to keep the kids entertained.” Pausing to think, she says, “If we can show them how much fun it is to roll their parents and friends, hopefully they won’t do it to a yard later on.”
Other events on the ball field include a free all-day eye clinic sponsored by Dr. Donny Reeves and other health activities sponsored by ETSU Health Chat and Healthy Kingsport.
Musically, a Gospel Fest takes over from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with music from Witness, the Full Gospel Mission Choir and P&P Ministry in Song. Then Liquid Pleasure takes the main stage at 7 p.m.
And what would a Rhythm In Riverview be without food? Last year’s fare made the biggest impression on Liquid Pleasure’s Mann.
“It was the best dang-gone food we’ve ever had, anywhere,” Mann remembers. “That barbecue chicken and shoulder and those baked beans were just like my daddy used to make. It was so good... totally made up for the rain. The band members still talk about that food ... even took some of it away with them.”
Along with the barbecue, count on booths and outlets with fish, shaved ice, smoothies, hand-rolled pretzels, even chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick. If you can imagine it, you’ll probably find it on the menu at Rhythm In Riverview this year.
Rhythm In Riverview, sponsored by Eastman and the Greater Kingsport Alliance for Development will be held at the V.O. Dobbins Community Center ball field, at the corner of M.L. King Drive and Louis Street.
In case of rain, the nearby inside gym is a suitable Plan B, but the outside ball field will make a memorable Plan A for anyone attending this year’s event.