Smooth Groove headliners intend to get the SlimFest party going

Members of Smooth Groove who are ready to wow the crowd at SlimFest are, front row from left, Elizabeth Heaton and Mike Hamer and, back row from left, Badge Heaton, Leonard Ervin, David Lee and Larry Ervin.

Members of Smooth Groove who are ready to wow the crowd at SlimFest are, front row from left, Elizabeth Heaton and Mike Hamer and, back row from left, Badge Heaton, Leonard Ervin, David Lee and Larry Ervin.

Smooth Groove front man Leonard Ervin has big plans for the crowd expected at this year’s SlimFest fundraiser for Shop With a Cop and the booster clubs of Maryville and Alcoa high schools.

Get ready to move, said Ervin.

“Our sound is something that makes you really want to move. It makes you want to dance,” he said. “Probably there will be songs you grew up with and really hadn’t ever heard live or in a venue like this one. That is what everyone should expect. Expect to move and dance because you can’t be still.”

Elizabeth Heaton, who plays keyboards with the band, said folks should come ready to be festive. “The main thing they need to expect is a party. That is what it is every year, just a great party,” she said. “I would expect it will be again this year, so be ready to put on your dancing shoes, get up and have a good time.”

The sixth annual event is billed as a party for adults to help children. The fundraiser donates monies raised through drink ticket sales, sponsorships and the $10,000 reverse raffle to the Shop with a Cop program of the Fraternal Order of Police Bud Allison Memorial Lodge 9 and the athletic booster clubs for Maryville and Alcoa high schools.

“Of course folks should expect a good time and hopefully to really help the kids of our area through this event - which is the bottom line,” Ervin said. “Folks should expect to hear good music and see good vendors and a lot of good things going on right here close to home.”

Ervin said SlimFest has a positive atmosphere he and the other band members enjoy. “Being from Blount County and seeing a lot of people we grew up with and seeing everybody come together the way they do is a good atmosphere,” he said. “I think this is our fifth out of six years we’ve been a part of SlimFest. It is a great event and great cause. I hope people come out to be part of it.”

The Sixth Annual SlimFest is set for Aug. 6 at the amphitheater at New Midland Plaza in Alcoa. In addition to Smooth Groove, Joe the Show will also entertain audiences beginning at 7 p.m.

Steve Stilts, with S and S, Inc., a commercial insulation manufacturer in Rockford, started the annual event on his birthday as a fundraiser for the Shop with a Cop program.

“We are expecting a record crowd and have sold out all of the $100 raffle tickets for the $10,000 drawing this year,” Stilts said.

“But the $2 drink ticket purchases the night of the concert give people a chance to win two reserved seats to see Reba McEntire at this year’s Foothills Fall Festival and a $1,500 diamond necklace. Remember that proceeds from all drink tickets go to the charities.”

Stilts says there are some measures being put in place to help with the summer’s record heat.

“We have a chiller misting system being built for the tented area to lower the temperature by up to 15 degrees,” he said.

Stilts said SlimFest is a free benefit concert recommended for adults to raise money for children. “If you have not experienced this event before, bring your lawn chair and come to New Midland Plaza and enjoy the music from two talented bands - Smooth Groove and Joe the Show, along with great food from Puleo’s Grille and Texas Roadhouse,” he said.

Stilts said Smooth Groove has become the official SlimFest band.

“They remind me of when I was younger and listened to Earth, Wind and Fire,” he said. “They also play some funk from some of the more recent bands. If you want to dance all night, come get your groove on with Smooth Groove starting at 9 p.m. this Saturday night.”

Stilts said Joe the Show out of Little Rock, Ark., will start the music at 7 p.m. “I first heard Joe play at The Waterfront Bar and Grill and really enjoyed his music and charisma,” Stilts said. “I know that he will get the party started.”

According to his website, fans say that Joe the Show “combines the sensibilities of John Mayer, the power and edge of Ben Harper, and the electrifying stage presence of Dave Matthews Band in a new and exciting way.”

Joe has performed in a variety of venues from coast to coast. After a long stint at the forefront of bands such as Knoxville’s Bullet Groove as well as various projects in Los Angeles, Joe gave birth to “Joe the Show.” Joe plays guitar and lead vocals, and is also an accomplished drummer, bassist, and pianist playing all instruments when in the studio.

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