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Jason Rapp

New entertainment venue planned for Midlands

Concerts announced today include Ranky Tanky


Announced yesterday, Innovation Arts & Entertainment (IAE) and The Roberts Group have partnered to launch Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center.

The new partnership will bring major touring artists and well-known comedians to the Soda City providing the live entertainment experience people have been missing. Cola Concerts will build a new venue from the ground up at historic Columbia Speedway (2001 Charleston Highway, Cayce). An initial artist lineup for Cola Concerts presents Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center was just announced and includes Charleston-based Grammy Award winners Ranky Tanky on Nov. 22, 2020. Live concerts are set to begin this Nov. 14. Fans will be able to get early access to tickets by signing up for the Cola Concerts Speedway Club at ColaConcerts.com. The Cola Concert Series at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center will feature a pair of 40-foot state-of-the-art digital screens allowing for picture-perfect viewing even during daylight hours. With a capacity of 3500, the site will be one of the largest entertainment experiences operating in South Carolina. Fans will be able to safely experience live music, comedy and live broadcasts of professional and collegiate sports from special coves, which are 12’x12’ areas enclosed by posts and ornamental rope. The coves will be big enough for up to four fans to safely socially distance from others.

A proven model

IAE is a boutique live entertainment company known for national and international theatrical tours, as well as live music events including the Beach Road Weekend Music Festival on Martha’s Vineyard and the Yarmouth Drive-in on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Launched in June 2020, the Yarmouth Drive-in has hosted more than 50 live music and comedy shows this summer including performances by Marcus King Trio, Chase Rice, The Disco Biscuits, Goose, and comedians Bert Kreischer, Nikki Glaser and Iliza Shlesinger. Employing more than 100 people, the venue provided a boost to the area economy during the pandemic. The Yarmouth Drive-in has become the blueprint for the return of the fan and band interactive experience at live entertainment venues. “We are excited to take what we learned at the drive-in this summer and use it to create the best live entertainment venue in South Carolina,” said Adam Epstein, founder and CEO of IAE. “We have had an overwhelming response from artists that are ready to bring music back to Columbia.” The Roberts Group is a national live entertainment promotion company. They have a deep connection to Columbia, having brought more than 100 theatrical performances to the city through their Broadway in Columbia series, which launched in 2003 at the Koger Center for the Arts. “When we began talking with Adam and IAE about launching a live entertainment series, the first place we thought of was Columbia,” Managing Director of The Roberts Group Daniel Hampel said. “Every time we bring a show to Columbia the fans are so warm and kind. We couldn’t be happier about bringing live entertainment back to the Soda City.”

Venue will create jobs

The Cola Concert Series is expected to hire more than 100 local employees to handle everything from ticketing to security. Additionally, there will be space for 10 local food vendors at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center, providing concessions to 3,000+ fans at every show. A schedule of initial shows is available now at ColaConcerts.com. While at the website, fans are encouraged to sign up for Cola Concerts Speedway Club to get all show announcements and early access to ticket presales, and they can follow them on Instagram and Twitter using @ColaConcerts and "Cola Concerts" on Facebook.

Tuning Up: The Lowcountry is hopping

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


You love to see it.

SCAC grantee Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston (FY20 General Operating Support) was the subject of the "Non-Profit Minute" from LowcountryBizSC late last week:

Verner Award recipients unite!

Verner Award recipients Nikky Finney (2016, Lifetime Achievement) and the Gibbes Museum of Art (2019, Organization) will collaborate tomorrow night, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Finney, along with author of Charleston-based novel The Cigar Factory Michele Moore and professor and director of southern studies at the College of Charleston Julia Eichelberger join the museum to consider the literary traditions and social landscape that gave rise to voices like Eudora Welty and Zora Neale Hurston. This event is inspired by the exhibition Central to Their Lives: Women Artists in the Johnson Collection and is designed to put the stories and experiences of southern women artists in dialogue with the experiences of southern women writers. Guests will also have an exclusive opportunity to purchase copies of Finney's newest publication Love Child's Hotbead of Occasional Poetry, which will not be available to the general public until April. Finney and Moore will be signing copies of their works after the program. Learn more about the speakers and register here. (Member, non-member, and student rates apply; 135 Meeting St., Charleston)

Artist Minute, Feb. 18

The Artist Minute is up on LowcountryBiz, and you will want to make sure you listen to and watch Quiana Parler of Ranky Tanky fame.

Ranky Tanky gets Grammy Award nomination

#SCartists' album up for major award


This has been making the rounds since the announcement on Wednesday, but The Hub would be remiss not to mention the major news for South Carolina's own Ranky Tanky. The folk band's latest album Good Time was nominated for a Grammy Award in the "best regional roots music album" category. According to a release from the College of Charleston, which boast three of the band's five members as alumni, the band's second album debuted in July 2019 at No. 2 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart. The band’s self-titled initial release, which came out in 2017, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz and Contemporary Jazz charts in January 2018.

Started by alumnus Clay Ross ’98, Ranky Tanky, which is a Gullah term loosely translated as “work it” or “get funky,” takes a modern approach to the traditional sounds of Gullah music. Rooted in the cultural traditions passed down from West African slaves in the sea islands of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, Gullah culture encompasses a rich African-American heritage expressed through arts, crafts, cuisine and the creole influenced language of Gullah.

Ranky Tanky features a quintet of musicians including Ross on vocals and guitar, Quentin Baxter ’98 on drums, Kevin Hamilton ’95 on bass, Charlton Singleton on trumpet and vocals, and Quiana Parler on vocals. Ross, Baxter and Hamilton all majored in music at the College. Baxter also previously worked as adjunct faculty at CofC, teaching jazz percussion.

Congratulations to Ranky Tanky on this accomplishment.