The Wailers to headline OktDoverFest

The legendary reggae band The Wailers play OktDoverFest in downtown Dover Saturday at 7 p.m. They will be preceded by The Brothers Stonesifer and Kayley Hill. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Whether it’s the start of a little rivalry, Destination Downtown Dover (DDD) knew it had to come up big for Saturday’s OktDoverFest if it wanted to compete with Smyrna, which has attracted national acts for some of its recent events.

So DDD went out and signed legendary reggae artists The Wailers, Bob Marley’s original backing band, to headline OktDoverFest in downtown Dover at 7 p.m. They will be preceded on stage by Nashville recording artist Kayley Hill (5 p.m.) and local favorite The Brothers Stonesifer (3 p.m.) as they supply the music at Saturday’s event, which will take place from 3 until 9 p.m. on Loockerman Street.

It will be just the kind of vision that Todd Stonesifer – a musician, realtor at The Moving Experience and one of the founders and current president of DDD – had when he moved back to his hometown of Dover in 1999.

“Frankly, with our neighbors to the north (Smyrna) bringing in a national act, we decided we had better step up our game,” Mr. Stonesifer said of Smyrna at Night, which featured headliner Robert Randolph and The Family Band this year.

“With the diversity in our community, we specifically sought after The Wailers as they are the entertainment choice. Our connections within the entertainment industry knew just what to do and made this happen.

“Destination Downtown Dover cannot even begin to describe the level of excitement we have for Saturday. The weather is going to be perfect, the city of Dover, Dover Police Department, DelDOT and the Downtown Dover Partnership have all been so cooperative and we are just ecstatic with the responses we are getting from those anticipating the festivities. Dover is a really great place and we are excited to show it off.”

OktDoverFest is Dover’s spin on the traditional German rite of passage and features activities for all ages. Loockerman Street will be closed throughout the event between State Street and Governors Avenue to allow the guests to roam the retail district of downtown Dover.

Those interested in attending Saturday’s OktDoverFest have a couple of options. They can just head out to Loockerman Street and watch the three bands performing for free, or guests at least 21 years old can purchase a $37 wristband that is good for unlimited, full pours of all alcohol sold at the event and an official OktDoverFest T-shirt.

Unlimited pour wristbands will be available on Saturday for $47 but do not include a T-shirt. Although, if there are any extras, those interested may buy one separately.

The Brothers Stonesifer kick off things at OktDoverFest Saturday.

Mr. Stonesifer said Delaware’s vast craft beverage industry will be well represented with vendors offering up their spirits, brews, mead, ciders teas and wines. Dover’s restaurants and pubs will be offering street food, while food trucks will line Loockerman Street and serve up their specialties and local artisans will feature crafts for sale.

Attendees are also asked to look for early holiday shopping vouchers, sidewalk sales and giveaways from downtown merchants.

Mr. Stonesifer said OktDoverFest is an event on the rise due to its ability to attract a wide variety of people.

“This event has definitely grown over the years,” he said. “We are expecting somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 people throughout the day, but with The Wailers – a national act – headlining the event, we really do not know what might happen.

“There is definitely something for everyone with such an eclectic mix of music, craft beverages, food, crafts and even activities for the kids. The entire community will be able to find something that tickles their fancy.”

For a quick reggae refresher, The Jamaican-based Wailers are known throughout the world for their many hits including “I Shot The Sheriff,” “One Love” and “Buffalo Soldier.”

Led by renowned bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett and joined by original Wailers guitarist Donald Kinsey, The Wailers will be coming straight from their homes in Jamaica following a break from touring the United Kingdom.

“We are extremely grateful that we are able to welcome The Wailers here in Dover, Delaware, and are looking forward to delivering the world of music right here in our hometown,” said Mr. Stonesifer.

DDD said it is also looking forward to introducing musical artist Kayley Hill to downtown Dover. She is currently touring the country after a successful appearance on “The Voice” last year. Ms. Hill has been singing ever since she could speak and said she feels as if music chose her and not the other way around.

Ms. Hill has found herself in all sorts of performance opportunities, getting to sing all over the world while setting foot on some pretty notable stages, including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the Lyric Oxford, the Beau Rivage, the Loveless Cafe, and more.

Hometown musicians The Brothers Stonesifer, with their variety of classic rock and country tunes, gets it all cranked up at 3 p.m.

It’s an opportunity that Mr. Stonesifer is looking forward to. It’s another chance to play with his brothers at his favorite location – downtown Dover.

“The Brothers Stonesifer are very much looking forward kicking off the entertainment for OktDoverFest,” he said. “We always love to perform on Loockerman Street for the community and OktDoverFest happens to be our favorite festival. We have a great friendship with Kayley Hill and are excited to introduce her to our friends, family and following and we know she will not disappoint.

“Neither will The Wailers.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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