On Saturday, St. Pat’s in Five Points should have a noticeably different vibe. The festival drew more than 40,000 people last year, a record for the event entering its 31st year. But the festival was uncomfortably congested on Harden Street. To alleviate the clogged streets that made it hard to go from one side of the festival to another, organizers have made changes.
They’ve even made it easier for you to get into the festival.
Here are a few of the significant changes:
People will now be able to pay for tickets with a credit card at the gate. In previous years, festivalgoers had to wait in the same line to buy their ticket and have their bag checked. Then, once inside the festival, there was another line for ID. To decrease the time spent waiting in lines at the gate, there will be a separate ticket booth. Also, IDs will be checked outside of the gate.
According to the festival, food sales were down last year simply because people couldn’t reach vendors through the Harden Street congestion. This year, all vendors will be moved off Harden, save two beer trucks. The South Carolina-based food vendors will be placed in four food courts, with tents and chairs, throughout the festival. Also, in addition to beer, the festival will be selling non-alcoholic beverages in every food court.
There were complaints that tickets purchased through etix.com, one of many online ticket retailers, cost much more than tickets purchased at the gate because of service charges. The festival is now using eventbrite.com.
The stage reserved for local bands is moving from the Five Points Fountain to a stage that will be near Chick-fil-A.
In recent years, sending texts and making calls while at the festival had become frustrating tasks. The festival is planning to massage the headache. Discussions have included bringing in a COW, an acronym for cell on wheels, a mobile cell site, as well as increased bandwidth availability.
Festivalgoers will receive a pocket-sized program with stage lineups and other pertinent festival information.
The V.I.P. area will move from The Gourmet Shop to Saluda’s restaurant where people can watch the festival from the balcony.
Trash receptacles will be dumped more frequently, and the festival received a grant from Palmetto Pride to enhance its recycling program.
Free Times Stage
Intersection of Saluda Avenue and Blossom Street
Noon, Rejectioneers: Indie rock that embraces punk and pop.
1 p.m., RBTS Win: Magnetic electro-pop music that will make you wish for darkness
2 p.m., Lefty at the Washout: Reggae rock that employs a good-time vibe.
3:15 p.m., Natural Vibrations: The band rocks with a sunny, reggae vibe.
4:45 p.m., Arrested Development: Socially conscious hip-hop group, fronted by the rapper Speech, has two of the indelible songs from the ’90s: “Tennessee” and “Mr. Wendal.”
Miller Lite/Rock 93.5/Fox 102 Stage
12:10 p.m., Death of Paris: A good way to inject energy at the top of the festival, as DoP’s rock and pop music will give you an early boost.
1:10 p.m., IAMDYNAMITE: A guitar and drum duo, the band wrangles a snappy sound from the minimalist set.
2:20 p.m., Eve To Adam: Modern rock band that keeps the music amped — and mad at “you.”
3:30 p.m., Foxy Shazam: A party rock band too cool to be on a wedding circuit. Dance if you want to. The band played the festival in 2010.
4:45 p.m., Chevelle: Rock that flexes muscle.
Intersection of Blossom and Harden Streets
Noon, Atlas Road Crew: ARC, a band that punctuates its rock vibe with Southern gentleman swagger, was voted into the festival. It’s a well-deserved spot.
12:40 p.m., Ricky Young: The Columbia native and former USC baseball player is making the rounds in Nashville. Two weeks ago he brought his Honky Tonkin’ University Tour to Tin Roof in the Vista.
1:30 p.m., Aaron Parker: Parker is a throwback country singer. He’s one of the few newer performers that will remind country fans of the hat acts that once dominated the genre.
2:20 p.m., Trent Jeffcoat: Like Parker, Jeffcoat has yet to trade his cowboy hat for a baseball cap, which is to say he leans more toward traditional country than pop country.
3:40 p.m., Bryson Jennings: The Orangeburg native and USC graduate could be the next from this state to make a dent on the country charts.
5 p.m., Josh Thompson: Thompson is the most accomplished of this country bunch. Songs “Beer on the Table” and “Way Out Here” put him on the country map.
WXRY Local Music Stage
College Street (near Chick-fil-A)
12:40 p.m., Steel Rollers: The Charleston-based string band will add some much-needed bluegrass and folk to the festival.
1:50 p.m., Jahson & the Natty Vibez: Fronted by Jahson Wildes, the band indulges in music with an Irie feel.
3 p.m., Fusebox Poet: A rock band that perpetually reaches for the anthemic, resulting in a dynamism that’s not easily duplicated.
4:15 p.m., The Rival Brothers: The band is at its best when the musicians — Bobby Sutton, James Ervin, Philippe Herndon, Dave Britt and Jay Crosby — let songs stretch into a jam. And when there is a cover, the bros know how to do it right.
Shaggin’ on Santee
2 p.m. Jim Quick & Coastline: Bring your dancing shoes. Don’t know how to shag? Surely someone here will be willing to teach you a step or two.
If you go
St. Pat’s in Five Points
When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Five Points
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the gate
Get to the Green 5k and 10k
Get to the Green touts itself as the largest road race in the Midlands, and this year it’s getting bigger by adding the 10K distance. There’s also a one-mile walk. The racing begins at 7:30 a.m. and the route will take runners through Shandon. The race ends on Devine Street. In addition to running awards, there’s one for the best dressed leprechaun. For more, visit gettothegreen.com.
St. Pat’s Parade
The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Dreher High School and will travel on Devine Street through Five Points. Get to your viewing spot earlier and bring a lawn chair if you want to sit down.
Pot O’ Gold Playland
The children’s area, open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, will feature rides, games, a petting zoo, magic show, karaoke and face painting, among other things.
The St. Pat’s shuttle service, which has been operating for four years, will run from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. And this year the festival is using bigger buses that will run every 20 minutes. Here’s where to catch the bus:
• Capital City Stadium on Assembly Street to the Greene Street Gate;
• Park Street behind the Koger Center to the Greene Street Gate;
• Hand Middle School on the King Street side to the Devine Street Gate (this shuttle begins at 11 a.m.).
No food, beverages, backpacks, coolers or containers will be allowed on buses.
Checker Yellow Cab and the Five Points Association will pay the first $10 of cab fare to a home or hotel.