Band fabulous, crowd not

June 06, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

HAGERSTOWN - Blues music was not the only game in town Sunday as the North American Rod & Gun Club hosted a rockin' benefit for two assisted-living facilities in Hagerstown.

And while organizers got sunny weather and a spirited performance by The Fabulous Hubcaps, there seemed to be one noticeable omission at the benefit - a large crowd.

Ginger Smith, one of the event's organizers, said Sunday's benefit was designed to raise money for Holly Place and Holly Place North, both on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown. Smith said she saw reports of the facilities' financial struggles and threat of closure in the news and was inspired to put together an event headlined by The Fabulous Hubcaps, a band that focuses on 1950's and '60's rock 'n' roll songs.


"I just pictured myself, one day, to be elderly and in need of help," Smith said. "I'd like to think the community would be there to help."

Smith said about 200 people attended the event, though just 53 tickets were sold before Sunday. The club's lawn in front of the stage had large gaps with no people on it and lines for food and beverage vendors were nearly nonexistent.

Smith and club president James Blanks said they were disappointed in the attendance, even amid competition from the final day of the Western Maryland Blues Fest at Hagerstown's City Park. That event was free, compared with the $25 price of admission for the Holly Place benefit.

"We still hope we did some good giving Holly Place some exposure," Smith said.

Information on any proceeds from the event was not available Sunday.

Undaunted by the small crowd, The Fabulous Hubcaps rambled through a high-energy performance that included covers and impersonations of the likes of the Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison and Janis Joplin.

Williamsport resident Chris Pappas said he was more interested in seeing some upbeat '50's and '60's rock 'n' roll than watching musicians sing the blues Sunday.

"I just love this music. I saw The Hubcaps a long time ago and wanted to see what they're like now," Pappas said.

One of the most enthusiastic fans during the concert was Steve Thompson of Hagerstown, who rushed to the front of the stage to dance while the band played songs like "Honky Tonk Women" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

"I'm an old fart and I love this kind of music, good rock 'n' roll," Thompson said. "I knew it was free down there (City Park), but I wanted to see this band, and it's a great cause."

"I just wish more people were here but, you know, I'm enjoying myself," he said.

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