As a sales rep for Thomas Creek Brewery, Josh McGee took his share of lumps going from bar to bar, hearing the occasional “no” delivered in a less-than-polite way. So he was pretty sure he’d built up thick skin by the time he moved into his position as the City Of Greenville’s entertainment coordinator three years ago.
Part of McGee’s new job was creating the annual Fall For Greenville festival’s musical lineup. That lineup, which typically features more than 70 bands on four or five different stages over three days, is famously divisive, earning as much praise as it does loathing. And McGee learned right after announcing the 2015 lineup that his skin wasn’t as thick as he thought.
“There were some negative comments, especially on social media, and in that first year it was hard for that not to affect me,” McGee says. “But even with 70 or 80 bands you’re not going to make everybody happy, and they’re going to let you know when they’re not. And I had to keep telling myself that.”
In his third year, McGee has built up a lot more confidence (and contacts), and the 2017 schedule features 72 bands from Thursday, Oct. 12-Sunday Oct. 14.
The headliners include the anthemic Tennessee rockers J. Roddy Walston & The Business (for whom McGee tried but couldn’t find a slot for last year), country-rock troubadour Will Hoge, and the throwback Southern rockers Whiskey Myers (with a Sunday night headliner still to be announced). The lineup includes familiar favorites like Dead 27s, Greenville Jazz Collective, and Mac Arnold and Plate Full o’ Blues, along with regional acts like Charleston’s Stop Light Observations and Asheville’s Ashley Heath.
The 2017 edition of the festival (with new title sponsor BB&T) is heavier on local and regional acts than the last few years, and has jettisoned much of the beach music and cover bands that were typically on the schedule. But how does McGee feel about the lineup he’s created?
“Third time’s the charm, right?” he says with a laugh. “But no, I’m really proud of this one.”