Harwood and his band featured performers at Farmers Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 14, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — This year is special for Darrell Harwood, who grew up attending Farmers Day with family. He’ll perform for the first time with his band, Darrell Harwood and the Cool Water Band.
His family didn’t live far from the hub of activity. They used to walk downtown for the annual festival, which marks its 30th year on Saturday.
And what does he remember most? “It’s hot,” Harwood said.
“You go early in the morning, walk around, look at crafts and eat ice cream,” he recalled.
He also remembered the street dance in the afternoon when it was cooler.
Harwood and his band are the featured performers Saturday night on the main stage.
“I’m glad I’m going to be a part of this,” he said.
In years past, bands have predominantly played beach music, but this year will feature a broader range of music.
What began as a one-time gig at a benefit concert for Harwood’s brother-in-law, who was battling cancer, turned into more than 80 shows a year.
The band also makes time to perform at various charitable events.
The band is made up of founder and China Grove native Harwood; Eric Upton, owner of Oasis School of Music in China Grove; John Barton, a native and resident of China Grove, who plays guitar; China Grove native and bass player Buddy Martin; and Wade Carpenter, of Charlotte, who plays drums.
If you’ve never seen the band perform, Harwood said, be prepared for “a lot of high energy country.”
“They’ll have a good time,” he said of the audience.
The Nostalgia Band will kick off the event on Friday with “Singing in the Park” at Hannah Park, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The China Grove-based dance band, which plays hits from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, is performing for the third year.
The band prides itself on live music.
“We don’t use any kind of sequenced music. We do everything ourselves,” said band member Fred White.
White said if you’ve never heard the band perform, be prepared for “good songs and a good time dancing and singing along.”
“We try to get the crowd involved and like to have a good time and hope that everybody else does, too,” he said.
As to being able to play during a milestone year, White said the band is thrilled.
“We’re more or less a local band. Everybody knows us, and we are happy to come back and play for them,” White said.
The band performs in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and was recently part of the Faith Fourth Street Dance.
The band, whose members are from China Grove, Spencer and Statesville, has been performing since 1964. Its members are Allen Haneline, lead vocals; Keith Beaver, drums and vocals; Ron Shuping, guitar and vocals; John Williams, guitar and vocals; Tim Cress, bass and vocals; and Fred White, keyboard and vocals.
Other bands performing throughout the event are:
• Piedmont Natural Grass, of Rowan County, bluegrass/ folk, performing Saturday on the main stage.
• The Night Move Band, of Taylorsville, dance, performing Saturday on the main stage.
• Offered Soul, of Kannapolis, Christian, performing Saturday on the Hannah Park stage.
• Eden’s Gate, of China Grove, folk/Americana/bluegrass, performing Saturday on the Hannah Park stage.
For more information about the event and activities, you can visit www.chinagrovefarmersday.com.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.