John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band To Perform At Fernandina’s Shrimp Festival

Plenty of Shrimp Festival attendees will be feeling nostalgic when original artists of the 1980s and 70s take the riverfront stage. Enjoy a musical flashback!

Popular songs of long ago often conjure up memories of past times. Those who experienced the 1980s may like to be in downtown Fernandina on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. (and be ready to reminisce).

Making their third appearance on Amelia Island, Florida in the last twenty years, is rock-n-roll band of the 1980s, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. They previously played here back in 2006 and 2010, wowing exuberant crowds at Fernandina’s Shrimp Festival.

For those unfamiliar, some describe the band’s sound as “Springsteen-esque.” Hailing from Rhode Island (not New Jersey), for younger generations who weren’t around in the 80s, the band quickly rose to fame after their music was featured in the movie “Eddie And The Cruisers” (1983). Then came a sequel, “Eddie And The Cruisers II: Eddie Lives” (1989). Actor Michael Paré played the role of rocker Eddie Wilson in the movies and lip-synced the songs actually sung by John Cafferty.

Back in 2006 when Cafferty’s band played the Shrimp Festival, a past Amelia Island Living article noted:

Saxophonist extraordinaire, Michael “Tunes” Antunes, mesmerized the fans.  Cafferty and talented Tunes came out into the audience and greeted fans up close and personal. Antunes actually appeared in the Eddie and the Cruisers movie as the saxophonist.

Saturday, April 30th — 4:30 PM At Riverfront Stage

Nearly 40 years later, many may agree the songs remain memorable and will draw crowds to Fernandina’s riverfront on Saturday, April 30th. Watch two YouTube videos below, “The Dark Side” and “Tender Years,” the songs as performed by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band back in the 1980s.

“On The Dark Side” No. 1 For Five Weeks On MTV & Billboard

“The hit single On the Dark Side held the Number-One position on the Billboard Rock charts and the MTV video charts for five consecutive weeks,” according to the band’s website. “The album sold over 3 million copies and was certified triple Platinum by the RIAA.”

Another popular hit from the movie soundtrack was “Tender Years” (YouTube video below from “Solid Gold” TV show).

Pop Culture — 1980s

It was just two years before the “Eddie And The Cruisers” movie release that MTV made its debut in 1981 on cable television. Cable TV in the early 80s was still in its infancy. Featuring music videos, MTV changed the music industry and had a huge impact on pop culture. Those who were young adults in the 1980s — the tail end of the baby boom generation plus Gen X-ers — are also known as the “MTV Generation.”

A Pivotal Turning Point

Cable/MTV created overnight fame for some bands and was the pivotal turning point for John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. They had been playing the east coast college bar and club scene from Rhode Island to New York. Cafferty described the astounding impact of cable and MTV on the band in a past interview. “Eddie and the Cruisers” was not a success at the box office when originally released. However, when cable television distributed the movie (featured on HBO), it became a huge hit with cable viewers. The band sold a million records in a month after “Eddie and the Cruisers” went on cable.  Cafferty said in a past interview:

“We went from playing in the bars to having the number one video on MTV in like 3 weeks — it was shocking.”

SOURCE: “What’s Up College Edition”

In a 1985 American Bandstand appearance, Cafferty told Dick Clark the music for the film “was written for a fictional band.” Music influences emotions and feelings – it’s a key element that can make or break a movie. Still today, “Eddie & The Cruisers” is included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 25 Greatest Movie Bands.

Thanks to John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band for their music that four decades later, still stirs emotions and gives the gift of youthful memories. For more information about John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, see their website.

Who Else Is Performing At The 2022 Shrimp Festival?

There’s more great entertainment scheduled at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s riverfront stage. Also performing on Saturday, April 30, 2022 during “Rock & Pop Masters®” is Peter Beckett (hear 1977 hit “Baby Come Back” and other songs). Plus, Peter Rivera will perform some songs of the 1970s including “I Just Want To Celebrate.”

Taking The Stage Sunday, May 1, 2022 — The Swingin’ Medallions

A local favorite and repeat performers at the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, back again this year on Sunday afternoon, May 1st, is the “Party Band of the South,” the Swingin’ Medallions. The band’s first set starts at 2 p.m., and after a break, they’ll be back on the riverfront stage for a second set at 3:45. The Swingin’ Medallions are the final performers to play the third and final day of the 2022 Shrimp Festival as it comes to an end, closing out the 57th celebration around 5 p.m. Sunday).

See the full listing of all Shrimp Festival entertainment and activities by visiting the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival website.

____ Editorial note : This article was updated 4/22/2022

By The Editor

Observations of island life, news & opinion by Wendy Lawson. Residing on Amelia Island for 30+ years, her professional background began at a newspaper in NY. She later became a managing editor at an equity research publishing firm and was Series 7 licensed while with Merrill Lynch.