Wilmington’s entertainment scene growing, more big acts coming in 2019


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — From rapper Ludacris and country music singer Bill Currington, to the Beach Boys rock band, a number of major entertainers performed for audiences in the Cape Fear during 2018 and next year promises to maintain this momentum.

In addition to these big names and dozens more, StarNews Arts and Culture Reporter John Staton said lots of smaller up-and-coming bands performed in area venues during 2018.

- Advertisement -

“We had Superchunk, an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill and one of the biggest acts the Cucalorous Festival has ever had,” Staton said. “Compared to the 1980s and 1990s, just the number and quality of acts in the last five years is nothing like Wilmington has ever seen before.”

Some of the acts next year including legendary performers and newcomers.

“Patti Labelle is coming to the Wilson Center in January,” Staton said. “A band I love that a lot of people may not have heard a lot about is Rainbow Kitten Surprise.”

In fact, they’re appearing here next spring.

“They’re a band from Boone–kinda of a rock and roll band but kinda of edgy,” and he adds, “The Rainbow Kitten Surprise is going places.”

The diversity of people living in the Cape Fear and its growing population are likely two factors driving demand for more entertainment acts.

“It is the population and a lot of people settling in Leland are coming into Wilmington to see stuff but its also the venues,” Staton said. “Back in the day, there weren’t as many places for them to play. Now you have Wilson Center, Greenfield Lake and multiple really nice venues for people [bands] to go play.”

Concert and box office tickets sales are help drive the economy in other ways.

“There’s more people here, there’s more people who want to be where things are going on that’s going to attract people,” Staton said.

Not to mention, the more folks going out for a night on the town to see a band or broadway touring show, helps fill local bars and restaurants.

One show bound to attract lots of folks in 2019 is ‘Evita.’

“That’s the first broadway concert tour of the year coming to the Wilson Center and Opera House Theatre Company opens another musical, ‘Mama Mia’ on Sunday, Dec. 30 and a big New Year’s show at Thalian Hall and they’ll run every weekend through January 19.”

While there are lots of big acts coming in 2019, Staton says he’s still very excited about one in particular.

“Rainbow Kitten Surprise is an exciting new band and that’s going to be two great back-to-back shows at Greenfield Lake in April,” he said.