Sampson County residents don’t have to look far if they are searching for wholesome entertainment the family can enjoy.
The sounds of bluegrass, gospel and country music fill the rooms of the Bellamy Center on the first Monday night of every month. Brenda Potter, manager for the recreation center, said the monthly event is a great way to spend two hours, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with the entire family.
“If you haven’t been to the Bellamy Center on the first Monday night of each month, you are missing out on a rare jewel,” Potter said.
For the last eight years, Potter said the center has played host to hundreds of bluegrass enthusiasts who come out to hear the sounds of banjos, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and, occasionally, a harmonica. Attendance varies, anywhere from 25 to 75 people, depending on the month and who the guest artist of the night may be.
“Local artists actually bring their own instruments and play for two full hours with the enthusiasm and love of a puppy,” Potter shared.
Artists such as Tattered Stream, The View Masters, Charles Carlisle and Friends and Carolina Tradition take turns on the stage, flatpicking and thigh slapping, as they play and sing for the audience.
According to Potter, the entertainment isn’t just for Sampson County residents. People from surrounding counties often come out to watch the local groups who are performing.
“This is just a great place for any age who loves bluegrass, gospel and country music to come out and enjoy,” Potter said. “It’s a quite, wholesome atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.”
For the first hour, Potter said guests can sit back and enjoy listening to the tunes. Some patrons bring homemade goodies for purchase during a 20-minute intermission, while everyone eats and greets.
“Then it is back to some more down home music that is sure to get your hearts and feet moving in the right direction,” Potter said.
Those who are regulars to the Monday night events, and for anyone who is interested in having a great time, next week’s session is planned to be a big celebration for Charles Carlisle and Alice Lockerman. Lockerman, who loves listening to Charles and his friends, shares a birthday with Carlisle and plans for June 6 include a birthday celebration for the two.
“Charles Carlisle has a comedic personality that is sure to have you laughing, and the bluegrass will take you away as the night spreads a memory you can cherish until we meet again,” Potter said. “This experience is unique. Most people come for the love of the music.”
There is a small fee that goes directly to the bands to assist with their travel expenses. Potter also recommends calling and checking the schedule each month. In the case of holidays, the performance is moved to the following Monday.
“I love being able to work with these groups and be a part of these events,” Potter said. “There is just so much enthusiasm and joy in the people who come.”
For more information or to find out who the scheduled artist of the month is, contact Potter at 910-249-3257. The Bellamy Center is located at 500 Pierce St., Clinton, in Royal Lane Park.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.