There is a party going on in the North Hills section of Raleigh on Thursday nights this summer! As with most things chronicled in this blog, it is ‘trailer trad’ and I’ll tell you why. It’s trad because, duh, it has all of the ingredients necessary for a good summertime party in the Carolinas. It’s got great music by the likes of the Embers and the Tams and other very good beach music bands. It’s got lots of shaggers young and old in great summertime clothes like Bermudas with loafers on the guys and sundresses on the girls. It’s got plenty of cold beer and warm evening breezes. It’s got plenty of those ‘Carolina Girls’, which as the beach music classic goes, are the best girls in the world! Finally, it’s ‘trailer’ because the party is free and open to all! These weekly events are an eye opener for a couple of reasons. First, the sheer numbers. I can’t measure crowds but these weekly soirees take up parking for blocks in my neighborhood and the throngs converging on North Hills give hints as to the size and lively nature of these gatherings. Another thing about the event is how festive and upbeat the mood is. These days, that’s saying something. I think that just being outside hanging out while listening to happy, upbeat music really lifts people’s spirits. Perhaps what is most striking about the Thursday night beach music party is that the partiers are of all ages. Nowadays it seems like people usually socialize according to their ages and this makes sense. Teenagers would rather be with teenagers and older folks would rather be doing age appropriate things with others their own age. But there is something significant about people coming together as a community to celebrate a timeless summer ritual – listening and dancing to Carolina beach music.
North Hills on Thursday nights is a gathering of different age groups but it is interesting how the different ages party. Whereas many of the older people who have followed beach music since the 1950s and 1960s are content to listen and talk while sitting on folding chairs, the teens and twentysomethings crowd the dance floor or meander around, checking one another out. Folks in the 30s and 40s like me are somewhere in between; chilling out a little, dancing a little and socializing a little. The younger set is in the majority, thus ensuring that North Carolina's great music will endure. The only drawbacks to having so many young shaggers there is that they move too fast to photograph properly! The older, er more experienced shaggers, also have expressed concerns that inexperienced shaggers have poor technique and may hurt someone with all that twisting and whirling around on the crowded dance floor!Another great thing is the location in the North Hills section of Midtown Raleigh. What's great about the North Hills location is that there are dozens of food and drink options to enjoy before, during or after the live music. Options range from excellent barbeque with PBRs at Q-Shack to sushi at Mura to steaks at Ruths Chris to excellent french bistro cuisine at Le Coquette Brasserie among many others. In addition, there is a huge cinema and an excellent new hotel. The party is right in the middle of it all.
As I was walking home, a couple of skaters in black and tattoos were standing next to their car dipping Skoal. Passing by, one of them said “Hey, you forget your shaggin’ shoes?” “Nah, my Rainbow flip-flops work fine” I said sticking up my blistered foot and giving him the thumbs up.