An Interview with Yellow Dubmarine

Yellow Dubmarine, a Beatles Reggae Tribute, will premiere at the Downtown Sundown Concert Series this Friday, August 3. Since this is their first time playing at our series, we thought we’d give you all a little more insight into this band. Find out what band member Aaron Glaser, specializing in bass and vocals, had to say:

WDI: How many musicians are in the band? What instruments do they play?
Aaron: Seven musicians make up Yellow Dubmarine. We incorporate guitars, drums, bass, keys, trombone, sax and percussion.

WDI: How long have you been on the road?
Aaron: We are finishing up our first year of touring.

WDI: Did you plan on making a reggae tribute to The Beatles?
Aaron: Yellow Dubmarine just started for fun and continued to grow. The band started with four of us who grew up playing music in the basement, and we played “Strawberry Fields” reggae-style. “Strawberry Fields” sounded really good, so we began to cover more of The Beatles and started picking up steam. Through the process we have added more and more, creating a more complete reggae sound. So, the whole band really started organically. I couldn’t ask for a cooler project.

WDI: How does The Beatles music translate to reggae and influence the crowds’ response?
Aaron: The Beatles’ music has proved time and time again to be immortal. After shows we are constantly hearing stories of how The Beatles’ music has touched people’s lives through monumental occasions like weddings and funerals, invoking a number of great responses. Both older and younger generations are able to celebrate with the band at each performance through dancing and having a great time.

WDI: What is it like to perform at such large events over the country?
Aaron: It’s been a pretty cool experience to play at a few of the same venues and clubs I have seen some of my heros perform at. Performing at All Good Music Festival was a dream come true, personally. We are also scheduled to play at Red Rocks in Colorado later this summer.

WDI: Have you been able to meet any influential musicians during your travels?
Aaron: Working with our manager, Kenny Liner, has been wonderful. Kenny plays the mandolin for a band called The Bridge. Now, Kenny is well known in the Baltimore music scene and has been able to progress up-and-coming bands in the area.

WDI: Are there any other artists the band plans on “dubbing” in the works?
Aaron: Not as of yet. We have recorded The Beatles, “Abbey Road,” and are going to record “Revolver” this fall.

WDI: Where do you see Yellow Dubmarine going in the future?
Aaron: We plan to take our music anywhere there are Beatles fans – so, I guess, worldwide.

WDI: What is your favorite song to play? What has been your favorite venue?
Aaron: I really enjoy playing, “Let it be.” My favorite venue is the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C.

WDI: Anything else you would like to include for our listeners and readers?
Aaron: Our main focus is bringing the highest quality musicianship. There is something very special about our live performances. The bands’ main focus is the Beatles songwriting while adding the reggae rhythm. Keep an eye out this fall for a Kickstarter campaign to help us fund recording, “Revolver.” To keep in touch with us, visit our website at

By David Blackwell, Jr.

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Downtown Sundown Heats Up

We are half way through this summer’s Downtown Sundown Concert Series, and so far we have enjoyed many different musical genres from hard driving classic rock n’ roll to the laid back sounds of Eastern North Carolina’s favorite beach music. This year, Downtown Sundown has been very fortunate to have some of the COOLEST backdrops of the nautical sense provided by pirate ships, Mississippi riverboat queens and United States Naval Vessels.

As the summer has heated up, so have the crowds! Just walking around downtown and hearing people talk about how amazing the Downtown Sundown acts have been is mind boggling. Some of my favorite shows have been the Funky Monks, SRVT and Spare Change. I am a little biased though, as I am into classic rock n’ roll. How AWESOME were those fireworks during the Frontiers set this past week?! I think I even spotted Brett Michaels backstage!

Let’s not overlook how much money we have been lucky enough to give back to the local charities that provide so much for our community. Through the charity wristband program, WDI has managed to donate over $4,000 in just these first eight weeks to selected charities! We were so pleased to donate the maximum amount, $1000, this week to the YWCA of the Lower Cape Fear. This is the first time we have raised the maximum amount for a charity through this program!

Looking ahead, we have so much more great music to come. Personally, I am really excited to see “Who’s Bad,” the Michael Jackson tribute, “ZOSO,” a Led Zeppelin tribute and “Yellow Dubmarine,”a reggae band that celebrates the music of The Beatles. Hopefully we will be lucky enough to host more boats out on the river. I think the ships really compliment the concerts and make Downtown Sundown a one-of-a-kind event.

Of course, I can’t write a blog post without giving credit to the people who put on Downtown Sundown every week. A BIG thanks goes out to John Hinnant and Ashley Hanners from WDI for organizing the concerts every week, Greg Scott & crew from Modern Music for providing the stage and sound, Pipeline Event Management for providing security and the City of Wilmington for all they do before and after each show. Also, thanks to R.A. Jeffery’s, Windham Distributing, Poor Piggy’s BBQ and Kona Ice for supplying cold beverages and delicious snacks…and our GREAT VOLUNTEERS who work tirelessly every Friday to bring you the best experience possible!

We look forward to seeing you these next weeks for the best free live entertainment in the region.

By David Blackwell, Jr.

Posted in Attractions, Entertainment, Events | 1 Comment

WDI Presents Seven at Seven


Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI), in collaboration with Kickstand Events, presents Seven at Seven, a night of fashion and cocktails. Come out to the Brooklyn Arts Center at Saint Andrew’s on North 4th Street on May 3, 2012 to see the latest fashions from 7 downtown boutiques: aMuse, Aqua Fedora, Elizabeth’s, Island Passage, Lure, Return Passage and The Wonder Shop.

VIPs get in early at 6:30 pm for light bites from local restaurants, cocktails, first look at the courtyard pop-up shops and a special VIP area on the Balcony. General admission is at 7 pm with a cash bar throughout the event. Make sure to put your bids in early for the silent auction for a chance to win some of the best local goodies in downtown Wilmington!

Visit to purchase your tickets. General entry tickets are $10, seated tickets are $20, and front row seating and VIP early entry and balcony view are $25. Limited number of seated and VIP tickets available.

By Ashley Hanners

Posted in Entertainment, Events, Fundraising, Shopping | 3 Comments

Contemporary Downtown Living


WDI had the pleasure of touring South Front Apartments this week, and all we can say is “WOW.” We couldn’t help but notice that we posted the press release on the development plans for the former Nesbitt Courts public housing project one year ago today. (Click here to read it!) We are so impressed with the progress that has been made in one year, and we wanted to share our experience with you.

The renovated buildings feature polished concrete floors and beautiful exposed brick walls in almost every room. Amenities available to all tenants include a rooftop deck with community garden, 24-seat theater, fitness center, outdoor saltwater pool, community room with kitchen and gourmet coffee bar. The basketball court and “bark park” are currently under construction as well.

The gated community includes security cameras and courtesy officers monitoring the property after hours. Visitors after hours must be called in by residents, and each of the apartments comes with a security system that can be monitored through ASG Security.

Going Green
Each residence comes with a mini-split HVAC system, which provides programmable thermostats in almost every space. Energy Star rated stainless steel appliances are also incorporated. The concrete floors and sturdy, layered brick walls provide for both better insulation and a noise deterrent to outside traffic. The beautiful landscaping includes a rainwater irrigation system for more efficient maintenance as well.

The Apartments
There will be 216 total one and two bedroom apartments when the project is complete, and many residents are already in place. There are 10 floor plans to choose from, uniquely named after famous jazz singers. In addition to concrete floors/countertops, exposed brick walls and stainless steel appliances, the apartments feature custom cabinetry, patios, walk-in closets, granite countertops in bathrooms, garden tubs in some units, and much more. The vintage buildings combined with the contemporary feel make this community truly unique.

We are excited to see spaces already filling up, and are anticipating a 100% occupancy rate once the project is complete. If you are interested in pre-leasing an apartment, contact the office at (910) 251-2391 or visit their website at

By Ashley Hanners

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2012 Partnership Program


Happy New Year! 2012 brings new beginnings, especially for WDI. We have revamped our Partnership Program for this year, and WE WANT YOU to join. Downtown business owners, retailers, restaurateurs, residents and anyone who believes in a prosperous and successful downtown are encouraged to join. This program is open to both businesses and individuals, and event sponsorships are also available. Business Partnerships are divided into four levels, beginning with the basic ‘Merchant Partner’ level for $100 a year for small businesses. Individual partnerships are $50 or $100. So, what are the perks? Everyone receives a window decal denoting WDI partnership and tickets to our Annual Partner Appreciation Event. Other benefits, such as free or discounted events to specific events, vary depending on your giving level. Best of all, WDI is 501(c)(3) organization and all partnership fees are tax-deductible as allowed by the IRS. Any donation is welcomed, and we will be happy to accommodate you if the giving level you choose isn’t listed. Click here to find out more information about the program, choose your giving level and join today!

Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) is partially funded by the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County, but relies heavily on private donations. Our organization is able to operate with the support of our local community partners. We encourage you to invest in your downtown. In 2011, WDI recruited eight new downtown businesses, which absorbed 32,000 square feet of office and retail space and brought 159 new jobs downtown. We also completed eight loans for businesses located downtown that helped create 123 jobs. Today, We Need Your Help to Continue the Momentum.

By Ashley Hanners

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WDI Welcomes New Businesses to Downtown


WDI is proud to welcome several new businesses to downtown Wilmington: Marrakesh, Village Market and The Wonder Shop.

After years of operating in Jacksonville, Sam Marrakesh decided to expand his successful restaurant to Wilmington. Marrakesh, a Mediterranean restaurant, will be located in the previous Rum Runners’ space at 21 North Front Street. Sam anticipates opening within the next six to eight weeks, depending on inspections. Customers should expect a “traditional exotic Mediterranean/Moroccan atmosphere along with a family style dining experience in addition to an authentic Mediterranean cuisine from the middle eastern, north African to Greek favorites,” according to the owner. Entrées will range from $10 to $24. Sam also plans on incorporating a lounge atmosphere appropriate for entertainment and special events. The restaurant will likely employ a total of 30 staff members, including: wait staff, bartenders, managers and kitchen employees. Resumes can be emailed to The hours of operation will be 10am – 10pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10am – 2am Thursday through Saturday.
Phone: (910) 546-2358
Website (under construction):

Owner Ayoub Abdelhamid recently opened a third location of Village Market at 1 North Front Street. The former Tom’s Drug building took over a year of renovations. The owner implemented many changes to the floor plan and installed new windows and fixtures, among other repairs. The store is stocked with snacks and beverages, and plans to feature more grocery products in the future.
Store Hours: 8am – 12am every day
Phone: (910) 632-2806

The Wonder Shop, located at 22 North Front Street, opened its doors on August 20. The building was completely renovated in preparation for opening the shop. Owner Kelsey Gibbs says, “The property owner, Ed Peacock, with Waldkirch & Saunders Co., did a ton of work to get the building in top shape. It was a lengthy process and I’m grateful to have such a gorgeous space.” Customers will find one of a kind pieces at The Wonder Shop: iconic staples, vintage items that mirror current trends, new clothing brands and shoes. The store offers a variety of prices, and you can find a modern vintage outfit for men and women – moms and daughters. Check out WWAY’s coverage of The Wonder Shop below for a history of how the store got its name.
Store Hours: Monday – Thursday 10am – 7pm, Friday – Saturday 10am – 8pm and Sunday 11am – 6pm
Phone: (910) 763-1982

By Ashley Hanners

Posted in Dining, Entertainment, Shopping | Leave a comment

Thanks for Rocking Out With Us


The 2011 Downtown Sundown Concert Series, held May 27 through September 10, brought an estimated 25,000+ in overall attendance! We had one cancellation (our first since 2008) due to Hurricane Irene, which moved the Machine Gun concert from Friday, August 26 to Saturday, September 10. The free series was produced by just four staff members and over 20 volunteers each week.

We implemented many new changes this year, such as charging $1.00 per wristband for those who drank alcohol. This program, which is popular in many other downtown communities, allowed us to donate over $8,500 to local charities! The Cape Fear Green Building Alliance, CFCC Alumni Association, Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation and 12 other organizations were given half of the proceeds raised from wristband sales. For a full list of charities and their corresponding concert dates, click here.

WDI also made it a goal to utilize local businesses as much as possible this year during Downtown Sundown. We partnered with Good Vibes Brewing Company, a micro brewery owned and operated in Carolina Beach, through our founding partner RA Jeffrey’s. The Barefoot wine brand was featured through Windham Distributing CO. Pipeline Event Management, a local start-up company, was utilized for security. Downtown Sundown’s media partners, all locally owned, included Sea-Comm, encore and WSFX. Opening performances were all Wilmington acts, and three headline acts were also local: Machine Gun, SRVT (Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute) and Onward, Soldiers.Good Vibes Cup

Downtown Sundown t-shirts and commemorative cups were also new additions to the series this year. A special VIP event was held for our Partners, and as a way to thank our fans – we accepted drink tickets of any color at our last regularly scheduled concert.

What do you think of all the changes? We would love to have your feedback regarding next year’s series, taking place May 25 through August 31, 2012. Click here to take a short, 15-question survey on the concert series. Upon completing the survey, you will be eligible to win a $5 gift card and t-shirt from The Fuzzy Peach! Names and email addresses must be provided in order to be eligible. The winner will be contacted on Monday, October 17.

Thank you to all our volunteers, event sponsors and fans for making the 2011 Downtown Sundown Concert Series a huge success!

By Ashley Hanners

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