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High-energy entertainment on tap for Lope Fest / July 17, 2017

Great entertainment is part of the package when you purchase a ticket for the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival, and this year’s event is certain to energize eardrums and get the crows on their feet.

The front lawn of Berry Hill is the perfect place for Lope Fest lovers to throw down a blanket — or their best dance moves — while they enjoy the music of this year’s entertainers, The Switch and The Embers.

“Entertainment is a key factor in planning for our festival each year,” said Nancy Long, the festival’s planning committee chairperson. “Determining entertainment is something the planning committee spends a lot of time deciding and the planning committee members bring several options to the table each year. When a couple of committee members suggested we reach out to The Switch, other committees members were quick to agree because they were familiar with the band and had seen them at other events over recent years.”

With rock music running deep in their veins and a desire to get the audience on their feet, The Switch will kick-off this year’s Virginia Cantaloupe Festival entertainment. By playing a wide range of music — old favorites to the best of everything new — The Switch is sure to give their audience a fantastic show that’s both energetic and interactive.

The Switch boasts a vast set list and the band lists some of their favorite artists Hank Williams Jr., Kid Rock, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, and Zac Brown Band. The Switch regularly provides entertainment at popular establishments throughout North Carolina, including Bar 119 and Tony’s Oyster Bar, as well as playing venues like Ducks Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. On the festival scene, The Switch is well known for their performance at the Lake Gaston Seafood Festival, where they’ve been invited back to play, year after year.

“Based on the experiences committee members offered from seeing The Switch play, we all felt this band would be a great choice to get the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival started this year,” Long said. “They’ve clearly got the vigor and vitality we are looking for in musicians. We believe they’ll deliver a great performance.”

Headlining this year’s Virginia Cantaloupe Festival and hitting the stage around 8 p.m. is The Embers. Honing their sound and creating their own brand of music for decades, The Embers’ beach music entertainment is truly an experience.

The Embers members have changed throughout the years, with Bobby Tomlinson, the group’s founder, as the only constant and original remaining member. The Embers of today consist of: Bobby Tomlinson (Founder/Band Leaders/Drummer), Craig Woolard (Lead Vocalist/Sax/Flute), Jeff Grimes (Guitar/Sax/Vocals), Stephen Pachuta (Trumpet/Vocals), Hugh Tuff Blanton (Bass/Vocals), Bobby Nantz (Trombone/Vocals), and Andy Swindell (Keyboards/Vocals).

Touring is commonplace for The Embers, who boast an average of 225 shows per year. Their Facebook page offers a long list of past and upcoming events, as a testament to their busy schedule. After entertaining fans at the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival, the band is set to play an event in Georgia the very next day.

“We are excited we could bring The Embers to the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival,” Long said. “Their music fits well with the atmosphere of our event and we are fortunate they had our date open in their schedule. We feel very confident about The Embers’ ability to give a great show to our festival-goers. We hope everyone brings their dancing shoes!”

The 2017 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival will be held Friday, July 28, 5-10 p.m., at Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center. Advanced tickets for the festival are $35 and may be purchased at the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, Halifax County-South Boston Visitor Center, WAKG, or online at

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