Night Ranger will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. for the free concert. The festival, hosted by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation, will also feature a variety of craft and commercial vendors, food from local restaurants and nonprofits, and fun activities for the entire family.
“When the festival first began in 1984, I don’t think anyone would have believed that it would feature such popular, nationally known artists as we have had over the last several years,” said Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. “With the generous corporate sponsorship provided by Stevens Sausage, we are absolutely elated to have signed Night Ranger to perform at the 2011 festival."
Since their debut album Dawn Patrol in 1982 that sold more than 17 million copies worldwide, Night Ranger has left an indelible mark on the music world. The band’s popularity has been fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks, including “Sister Christian,” “(You Can Still) Rock In America,” “When You Close Your Eyes,” “Sentimental Street,” “Goodbye” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.”
Harnessing the frenetic drive of heavy metal to hook-laden rock songs and throwing in a stunning twin lead guitar team with melodious, radio-friendly power ballads, Night Ranger inspired new descriptive phrases such as “melodic metal” and “metal power pop.”
According to bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, music is constantly evolving and that is one of the reason’s he is so proud of Night Ranger and why the band will continue to evolve.
“We’re just going to roll with it, have a blast and keep playing as long as it is fun and people want to come out and hear us play,” he said.
Drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy echoes those sentiments.
“I love when people tell me that they used to drive around in the summertime with the windows down and crank Night Ranger, and they love reliving that with our music now,” he said. “Those fans continue to come and see us, but now we’ve also got a whole new audience coming, younger fans who are just discovering the band.”
Johnson says this year’s festival will be one of the “largest attended events in Johnston County history.”
The Ham & Yam Festival is organized by the non-profit, Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. For more information about the 2011 Ham & Yam Festival, call the Downtown Development office at (919) 934-0887 or visit www.hamandyam.com or www.downtownsmithfield.com.