Summer SOULstice Brings Rock & Roll Pianos to Pulaski Square

by Scott Stewart


Rock and Roll Pianos are taking over the Main Stage at Summer SOULstice this year, bringing loads of fun with a high energy act that thrilled the festival’s crowds last year.


This year Rock and Roll Pianos will serve as the main act in a Summer SOULstice festival that is packed full of fun and entertainment.


Summer SOULstice 2018 is Saturday, June 16, with a layout that includes the entire Pulaski Square and South Second Street to the First National Bank Community Park Gazebo.


Rock and Roll Pianos will take the Main Stage at 8 p.m. and play through midnight.


If you’ve been to the Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar in Nashville, you know what’s in store for the Summer SOULstice Main Stage. If you haven’t been, there’s quite a treat waiting for you.


According to their website, Rock and Roll Pianos is “The nation’s premiere dueling pianos and all-in-one entertainment company.”


Two pianos and drums are manned by Justin Nault, Geoff Smith and Eddie Thompson.


Nault is a Nashville based entertainer who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2008 with a degree in songwriting, the website states. He performs for thousands at The Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar and is very happy to be a co-founding partner at Rock and Roll Pianos.


Smith is an original founding member of the The Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar management team and a songwriter with a catchy power pop style.


Thompson has been an entertainer all his life. He started piano at the early age of 6 but eventually grew into many talents.


He is a proud co-founder of Rock and Roll Pianos and joins his partners in inviting you to a perfect exciting high-energy night of entertainment.


“We are so excited that we could get Rock and Roll Pianos as our main act this year,” Pulaski Main Street Director Olivia Officer said. “Everybody at Summer SOULstice is going to have so much fun watching and listening to these guys all night. Don’t forget they take requests, so bring a list of your favorite songs and get ready for an amazing night.”


Officer reminded everyone attending Summer SOULstice to bring your own chairs for seating around the Main Stage.


Rock and Roll Pianos is just one of many returning favorites at Summer SOULstice 2018.


Relay For Life
One of the most important parts of Summer SOULstice is the partnership between the festival and Giles County’s annual Relay For Life event.


The two events began working together during Summer SOULstice’s first year in 2016, and Officer said working together has made both events better.


Relay For Life is a major fund-raiser across the country for the American Cancer Society. Teams are formed by businesses, industries, organizations and individuals who raise money throughout the year and come together in communities like Pulaski to celebrate survivors and to honor the fallen.


Giles County Relay For Life teams sell food throughout the event each year to add to their fund-raising efforts. The money raised goes to the fight against cancer.


“I think it’s awesome that we can all come together to celebrate our community, celebrate arts and music, celebrate healing, celebrate life and remember our loved ones who have been taken by cancer,” Officer said. “I know that having Summer SOULstice and Relay For Life together is what makes the night as special as it is each year.”


Relay For Life will have the entire south side of the Pulaski Square for its booths and events this year.


The Summer SOULstice Main Stage will be located at the intersection of Madison and Second Streets and face east toward the Relay For Life booths.


The Relay For Life Survivor Dinner will be held at 5 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.


Relay For Life’s opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m. and the Relay Survivor/Caregiver/Team Laps begin at 6:20 p.m. The track for Relay For Life this year will circle the south side of the Pulaski Square.


Food will be sold at Relay For Life booths throughout the evening.


Following a performance from the Temple of Praise Choir, the always inspiring Relay Circle of Light Ceremony begins as cancer survivors are honored and cancer victims are remembered with the lighting of luminaries around the track.


Giles County Relay For Life will continue with entertainment from Rock and Roll Pianos until closing ceremonies at midnight.


Summer SOULstice is just over one week away and promises to offer a lot of new attractions and events along with some favorites, including (below) Roark Phillips and his chainsaw carving demonstration. Phillips will have two demonstrations at the First National Bank Community Gazebo at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.   Photo by Ken Webb


Chainsaw Art
Several other returning favorites are scheduled for Summer SOULstice 2018, including Boots, Chaps and Chainsaws with Roark Phillips.


Phillips has been part of Summer SOULstice from the beginning and this year he will move his chainsaw art demonstration to the First National Bank Community Gazebo at the intersection of South Second Street and West College Street.


Phillips, from just down the road in Lincoln County, finds beauty in all things wood, and he brings that beauty out with his own special tool — a chainsaw. There’s no limit to what he can find hiding in a piece of wood.


Phillips will give live performances of his chainsaw artistry at the First National Bank Community Park Gazebo at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


“Roark Phillips has an amazing gift and talent for carving art — he is a rock star with a chain saw!” FNB VP/Marketing Director Amy Woodard said. “He has been such a highlight for our festival in the past and we are thrilled to have him spotlighted this year at our First National Bank Community Park Gazebo, with plenty of space to view his work of art creations during the night. It really is the coolest thing to watch him work!”


There will be the opportunity to take some of Phillips’ work home Saturday. Donations will be taken and drawings held for the pieces he creates that night. The drawing will be held at 10:30 p.m.


Kids’ Fun
Summer SOULstice is always a blast for the kids and some of their favorites are back this year too.


• Bounce Houses will be located on Second Street on the west side of the Square.

• Trampoline Man (bungee jump) will be on the north side of the Square.

• Balloon Man will be on Second Street on the west side of the Square.

• The Giles County Soccer League mini soccer field will be on the north lawn of the Giles County Courthouse.

• The Lions Club Train will travel up and down South Second Street, picking up riders at First National Bank.

• Kids Karaoke is back. Bring that budding star to the corner of Second and Jefferson streets on the west side of the square. Barbara and Joel Slaton and the Pulaski Elks Lodge will have all of their favorite songs ready for them to perform.


Local Talent
Pulaski Performing Arts Center is no stranger to Summer SOULstice. The local dance academy has been part of the festival from the beginning.


PPAC students will put on two performances during Summer SOULstice at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the south side of the Square.


This year PPAC will also have tap dancing lessons for kids and adults in front of their studio on Second Street on the west side of the Square.


Milk Drop
Former Main Street Pulaski coordinators Judy Pruett and Jane Lee Robertson are back with their blast from the past, the Milk Drop.


Who knew watching people pour milk on their friends’ heads could be so much fun?
What’s even more fun this year is the cash prizes for the top three teams, sponsored by First National Bank.


“First National Bank has been involved with the Summer SOULstice Festival since its creation and we’ve always loved that Main Street has included some of the nostalgic components of Main Street Festival’s past with the tradition of the Milk Drop from its early days,” FNB VP/Marketing Director Amy Woodard said. “With all great things, its always fun to add some additional incentives to make that milk competition even sweeter, so we are excited to sponsor this year’s Milk Drop with cash prizes for the top three teams.”


First place will win $200, second place $100 and third place $50 in this year’s Milk Drop.


“We have so many new and returning events and attractions, this year’s Summer SOULstice is going to be so much fun,” Officer said. “There is literally something for everyone, and it’s free. Make plans to be part of the fun June 16.”


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