In more ways than one, Augusta is like a second home to Sister Hazel, the Southern pop and county rock group that headlines the 18th annual Border Bash on Friday, Sept. 9.
Not only did the group play last year’s event, where more than 10,000 football fans gathered the night before the annual Georgia-Carolina game, but they also headlined Rock Fore! Dough in the spring.
The group is a staple at Augusta-area events for good reason, said Joe Stevenson, the owner of Gluestick, the event promotion and music management company that produces Border Bash.
“They’ve got a strong following here. They’re a great live band that gets it, even though they’re Florida Gator fans,” Stevenson said with a laugh. “Last year they were a lot of fun. They brought the cheerleaders up on the stage. They really get into it.”
Because of construction near Augusta Common, this year’s event has been moved to the fields surrounding the old train depot at Sixth and Reynolds streets.
Border Bash will again feature the Georgia and Carolina cheerleaders and mascots, Cocky and Hairy Dog.
Border Bash is energetic, with live music, food and drinks, while still being family-friendly, Stevenson said. Each year, the event benefits children’s charities through the Border Bash Foundation. More than $500,000 has been given to groups that benefit youth and children, including the Boys & Girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Gordon and others.
The event goes on rain or shine. No coolers are allowed, but pets are welcome.
Sister Hazel will play songs from their 2010 release, Heartland Highway, in addition to hits from throughout the band’s 17-year career.
The five-member band from Gainesville, Fla., comprises vocalist Ken Block, guitarist and vocalist Drew Copeland, lead guitarist Ryan Newell, drummer Mark Trojanowski and bassist Jett Beres.
Stevenson’s band, the Joe Stevenson Band, will play the opening act.
“It’s the best gig of the year, just because it’s so fun,” Stevenson said. “It’s like a really big part. It’s the best way I know to kick off the football season.”