The Little River Band headlined the festival Saturday.
The festival got cranking Friday morning with an early opening for special needs children. The midway was a buzz with activity as children enjoyed the rides at a slower pace and a lowered noise level.
The festival gates were opened to the general public at 5 p.m. Friday, and regular hours are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Little River Band (LRB) is on tour celebrating its 35th anniversary and Bryan County and the surrounding area is invited to the party.
The Australian-born band, now predominately made up of Nashville-based musicians, is known for a string of hits from the late 1970s through the 1980s.
LRB's sound is bright piano- and guitar-driven classic rock with soaring harmonies featured heavily in the choruses - reminiscent of Kansas or Toto. It's the kind of music that sparks fond memories of a simpler time and engages the audience.
The News caught up earlier this week with lead singer and bassist Wayne Nelson, now in his 30th year with the band, who was kind enough to talk a bit more about Little River Band and what fans can look forward to for tonight's show.
Bryan County News: What kind of live show can fans expect tonight from Little River Band?
Wayne Nelson: All the hits that they know and a lot of ‘em that they don't know, as a matter of fact. People don't realize how many hit songs the band had in the late ‘70s and through the ‘80s. One thing we don't take for granted is the memory value of those songs and what people want to get from them.
We want to make the hits sound like people want them to - keep the guts of the song the same - but we'll embellish the intros, outtros ... It really turns into a party: dancing, clapping, it just keeps building momentum. By the end of it, people go out very happy. It just depends how many memories we bring back for them. I'm looking forward to it. In all these years of touring, I've never been to Savannah.
BCN: It's been 30 years now that you've been with the band. You've seen the lineup change countless times, and although the sound seemed to change a bit through the decades, you guys always have those signature harmonies in the chorus. What else about the band have you tried to keep steady throughout the years, and even though this isn't the same lineup that people may remember, how is it intrinsically the same Little River Band?
WN: Well, first and foremost it's Little River Band music. The only human thread to the past is that I was there with all those guys. Until our success started to dissipate a little bit, the choice of living in Australia and traveling to America, where the major fan base was, little by little each member decided they didn't want to do it anymore. It was too far from home.
But before that happened, I was made a part of the band when the spotlight on the band was shining the brightest ... So as somebody left, I was part of the task of replacing them. For all of the replacements, all the "revolving door of personnel," I was there ... This current lineup has been together for five years and is probably the most stable Little River Band since the '70s. I was there through all of those changes, and so stepping up to be the lead singer and being the guy that's kind of now the judge and jury as to whether it's working or not, that's how it stays the same Little River Band.
BCN: Three of your current members hail from Nashville - coincidence?
WN: Yes and no. The Australian member of the band migrated to America and then to Nashville just as a progression of being a songwriter and musician - he wanted to experience Nashville. He wanted to take advantage of America, where our main fan base was, and gravitated toward Nashville, had auditions there when others left the band ... We ended up with a great group of people that are very like-minded when it comes to music.
BCN: You've got a great rock voice. Had you been formally trained prior to joining the band?
WN: Formal, no, but a ton of informal. I grew up in a choir-singing family and from the age of 3, I stood in the men's section and hung in there as best I could ... I was immersed in music from that age, loved the harmony and the structure of that kind of music. Then as I grew up singing in chorus - you're learning but you're not doing formal training - it just all kind of came naturally. Almost like learning a language, really.
Little River Band hopes to continue to tour the United States and Canada year-round. They will break in November for the holidays, but will start doing shows again in January 2011. Nelson said the band will also head into the studio soon to record new material.
For more information about the 12th annual Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, visit www.goseafoodfestival.com or contact the RHBC Chamber of Commerce at (912) 756-3444.
For more information on Little River Band, visit the band's official website at www.littleriverband.com.