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Group W part of free entertainment

Street fair expands westward to Sherman Avenue

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Group W part of free entertainment

Ed Adams delivers some soulful vocals while Group W bassist Brad Dollinger looks on. Gabe Campa keeps time on the drums in the background. Group W will be performing at the Crossroads Street Fair o...

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POSTED March 30, 2009 4:05 a.m.
Ed Adams is no stranger to most Mantecans who attend community functions.

As the singer of the homegrown blues band Group W, Adams and his fellow musicians have become somewhat of a community staple ever since they started playing at the Crossroads Street Fair several years ago – adding performances at the Fourth of July Celebration at Big League Dreams as well as the Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

And they’ll once again be playing a hometown show when they take the stage at the 13th annual Crossroads Street Fair on Saturday, April 4 at 2 p.m., and Sunday, April 5, at 1 p.m.

Other Library Park gazebo stage performers on Saturday at Library Park are Manteca Idol, 10 a.m.; Amanda Gray/Bratta, 11 a.m.; Sound Check, noon; Cortez Dojo, 3 p.m.; Tamarii O’Matairea, 4 p.m.; and International Self Defense Institute, 5 p.m. On the gazebo stage Sunday are Manteca Youth Focus Titleholders, 10 a.m.; International Self Defense Institute, 11 a.m.; Amanda Gray/Bratta, noon; and Tamarii O’Matairea, 2 p.m.

Prairie Rose String will perform from 3 to 5 p.m. in a tent at Library Park.

“We love playing events like this for the community because you get the chance to play for such a wide range of people,” Adams said. “You get to play for men and women and children and grandparents – really making it a multi-generational affair that allows everyone to come together and enjoy the music.

“That’s something that you really don’t get to experience when you’re playing in a bar, and it’s something that we all enjoy.”

For the last six years Adams has been teamed up with guitarist Chris Heanes, bassist Brad Dollinger, drummer Gabe Campa and sax player Steve Madru to form the multi-faceted Group W – focusing on delivering a soulful mix of delta blues with their own unique style.

With regular stops at places like the Fireside Inn – where Mike Torres Jr. hosts a weekly jam session on Sunday nights – and the riverside Haven Acres Marina, Group W has become a regular on the local music circuit that Adams says has always been there for those who were willing to search for it.

While playing music professionally isn’t easy to do in the Central Valley, the majority of the members in Group W are also involved in other music projects – expanding the group’s musical base while at the same time keeping all of the members sharp on their respective instruments.

At the end of the day, those connections directly translate into a better finished product for those who turn out for the live performances.

“Getting out there and playing right in your hometown where your friends come out and you get the chance to meet new people – that’s what playing music is all about,” Adams said. “I’ve had the pleasure of being recognized and appreciated while just out walking the street.

“We do these events because we want to become part of this community and give back to the people in it, and we’re fortunate that we’ve been able to do that. These are all great opportunities to get out there and do what it is that you love, and letting other people share in that experience only makes it better.”

The street fair this year will extend east to Sherman Avenue on Yosemite Avenue. There will be kids’ games and rides between Grant Avenue and Lincoln Avenue both days while a RV and boat show will take place between Lincoln and Sherman avenues on Saturday while a car show will take place in the same block on Sunday.

Main Street will be closed this year to enhance the safety of those attending the street fair.

To hear some of Group W’s songs or to find out about upcoming shows, visit www.myspace.com/groupwoffthebench.
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