One of Augusta’s largest music events and perhaps the largest party around during Masters Tournament week is getting a double-dose of tunes this year, with a new second stage to keep the music going from the day into the night.
Rock Fore! Dough’s eighth annual show comes to First Tee of Augusta, 3165 Damascus Road, on Tuesday, April 3, featuring headliner Darius Rucker and other acts including Corey Smith, Needtobreathe, The Farm Inc., Tim Brantley, Jaycie Ward and Five’s a Crowd.
The event benefits The First Tee of Augusta, an organization dedicated to introducing children to golf.
“You have to add some new components to keep it fresh and exciting,” said show promoter Joe Stevenson. “So, we decided that the timing was right to add a second stage. It just makes sense.”
Headliner Rucker said he welcomes the new format, including the inclusion of some local acts.
“I think it’s awesome,” Rucker said. “The more the merrier. It doesn’t seem like a long time, about 20 years since we (Hootie and the Blowfish) were a local band. I remember little gigs here and there. I’m excited to see some of the bands.”
Rucker, who has been on tour with Lady Antebellum and is featured on an upcoming duets album by Lionel Richie, is busy writing and recording material for his third solo country album this fall.
“We’re going to try to do some things different than we did before, but we’re still going to make country music,” he said.
Returning to the main stage is Georgia-born country artist Corey Smith, and coming off their recent tour with Taylor Swift, the up-and-coming act Needtobreathe will play hits from their most recent album, The Reckoning.
Another group performing on the Rock Fore! Dough main stage is The Farm Inc., described as a hybrid act – rooted in country music mixing in pieces from different pop music genres, ending in harmony.
Tim Brantley, coming in from Atlanta, will bring to the second stage a sound influenced by ’70s pop and rock, with influences ranging from Elton John to Fleetwood Mac.
“Country seems to be the easiest in Augusta, and it draws the bigger crowds, but the crossover is pretty amazing,” Stevenson said. “We’re trying to get a good mix and create a festival. We’re not creating Bonnaroo, but we’re really trying to get a little something for everybody.”
For local musicians Five’s A Crowd and Jaycie Ward, Rock Fore! Dough’s second stage is giving them a chance to play for a large music festival while playing for a hometown crowd.
“We’re all incredibly excited about it,” said Pen Chance, drummer for Five’s A Crowd, who describes the band’s sound as “jazzy-rockish.”
“We’ve mainly played in Augusta, and we really haven’t been able to play a whole lot lately because of our schedules,” Chance said. “We’ve played at Sky City, and got known locally when we were asked to play 12 Bands of Christmas last year. That was our breakthrough local gig.”
The band started out as a group of good friends from Augusta, forming as a “punky cover band” playing covers, Chance said, but the band’s style has changed as it has grown.
“We’ve decided to keep going and write our own material,” he said.
For the festival’s youngest performer, teenager Jaycie Ward, the stage is nothing new. At the age of 6, she got to sing with Martina McBride, and she’s been singing ever since, including at A Day in the Country.
“I’ve been singing nationally, and this isn’t my first event, but it’s one of my first major sets,” Jaycie said. “I’m extremely excited.”
The country singer from Beech Island is performing five songs, including an original, and a surprise tune.
“It’s going to be really cool,” Jaycie said. “I would like for (the audience) to just have a good time. It would be cool if they got up and danced a bit. I want them to feel the song.”