BY JOHN CRANFORD
Hilton Head Island was the place to be on March 11th. Pope Avenue was filled with out-of-state license plates, locals on bikes, and everything in between as islanders and tourists alike flocked to the South End for top notch floats, tons of live music, and some free candy for the kids. Welcome to the 35th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
We came for the music, and the lineup on Sunday was filled with local acts. All of the big stages along the parade route featured Lowcountry headliners. The main stages at Aunt Chiladas and Wild Wing Cafe had full scale production, and gave the heart of Pope Avenue a festival atmosphere with over 12 bands or solo artists playing in a six hour time span. Johnny O. jammed with the up and coming Nice Guys at New York City Pizza, and Silicone Sister rocked the Rockfish stage to a packed crowd.
The festivities definitely didn’t stop when the parade did. Situated at very end of the parade route, Bobby Magyarosi fronted our very own Swampfire Allstars at Char Bar. Back down on the other end of Pope, White Liquor performed past sunset at Darren Clarke’s Tavern. Groove Town Assault held a rowdy after party at Local Pie.
In a special edition of Swampfire Sessions, nationally touring act Among Criminals, with special guests Kyle Wareham of Pretty Darn and Eric Reid of Cranford Hollow, ripped through a solid reggae fusion set at The Boardroom before the skies opened up and the long anticipated rain finally rolled in.
“Are we still calling this thing a parade? What I witnessed in 2018 was so much more. The level of participation marching down Pope Avenue was equally matched by the arts, entertainment, and crowd excitement on the other side of the ropes. Both were the best I’ve seen, and it’s only getting better each time! 90% chance of rain my a#$hole !” as Thomas Reilley, owner of The Boardroom, said it best.
It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Parade Day without the Reilleys. Reilley’s Grill & Bar served up live music all day, including authentic bagpipers! They also had green beer, and enough Jameson and Guinness to keep the locals quenched. “We had a record breaking day. I think the beautiful weather helped everyone” said Jamie Booth of Reilley’s. Even though the night finished out soaking wet, the beautiful day was a great surprise from what the forecast looked like earlier in the week!
All in all, 2018’s St. Patrick’s Parade Day was a great showing of the magnitude of talent on Hilton Head Island.
Visit swampfirerecords.com/events for next weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day show listings, and all your Lowcountry music scene needs.