Simpsonville will be raising the roof over the Tater Shed amphitheater soon, thanks to a successful collaboration by dedicated citizens, city officials, and local sponsors. Saturday’s rain early in the day gave way to perfect Carolina weather, and attendance at the “Raise the Roof” event was much larger than expected. Guests brought chairs and filled the amphitheater seats, enjoying food, $3 margaritas, and the sounds of Margaritaville from Florida band “The Caribbean Chillers.”
The official attendance number from the City of Simpsonville is over 700, almost double what was expected.
Lou Hutchings says the idea for the event was a result of the Arts Center Feasibility Study completed earlier this year. “We wanted to have a Spring Concert that would kickoff the season, highlight the facility, and gauge the interest in the area for events at the proposed Arts Center location. Also, we wanted an event with broad appeal so I suggested that we do a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Concert. I contacted Jason Webb and the Caribbean Chillers in Florida, and we were on our way to Margaritaville in Simpsonville. When we had secured the group, we decided that this would be an excellent venue for raising funds for improvements to the outdoor facility (Tater Shed Stage).”
Without spending a dime of taxpayer money, Hutchings and the event team completely funded a future roof structure over the stage. A total of $22,000 was raised from ticket sales, generous local business sponsors, and donations at the event.
Food was provided by Bosco’s, who served a full menu complete with “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.” The Chillwagon rolled in at 6pm with ice cream as the band took the stage. The “Tiki Hut” was provided by TRZ Management, the group that manages the amphitheater at Heritage Park.
Because of the unexpected surge in guests Stephanie Kelley and Sherry Roche jumped in to help tend the bar, replenish supplies, and open a second drink line. Lisa Everidge and Tiffany Cherry with the city worked alongside Mayor Janice Curtis to keep everything running smoothly. Every need was met by a large team of volunteers excited to see the event through to a happy ending.
An investment in community
While Simpsonville has traditionally been considered a “bedroom community,” the last two decades have ushered in a boom in both local and national chain business. Many of them are looking for ways to give back to the community they have invested in, and that showed in the impressive donor list for the Raise the Roof event:
Rick Moore, Attorney at Law
Ron & Joan Bridges
Upstate Podiatry was the presenting sponsor, donating $3500 to the cause.
Renewed partnerships between the city, chamber, and local civic groups are helping foster a new era of teamwork in Simpsonville, and events like “Raise the Roof” are growing in popularity.
Hutchings has also launched the Swamp Rabbit Parrothead Club, a Jimmy Buffett fan club and charity that will be used for future events and fundraising. At the time of this writing the club boasted 57 prospective members.
About the Tater Shed and the School Building
The Tater Shed is an outdoor venue located at the city’s historic school campus. The name originated from the unassuming brick building behind the stage, once used to store sweet potatoes for the town’s farmers.
The school building is currently rented out by various athletic and cultural groups, but needs many improvements to bring it up to date, including climate control. Built in the “New Deal” era, the school is one of few existing examples of that period’s architecture. In 2015 the building received a State Historical Marker, and it is a source of pride for residents young and old who attended the school before it closed in 2002. The Arts Center Feasibility Study that both Hutchings and Kelley served on provided options for restoring the building and ensuring its future preservation. To read the study, visit simpsonville.com
More music to come this summer
The venue will also serve a Summer Music Series hosted by the Simpsonville Arts Foundation beginning June 2. The concerts are free, and will run from 7-9pm every Friday night. For a full schedule, visit SafiArts.com