BETHANIA — Music lovers now have a new option for attending live music performances. Muddy Creek Cafe has expanded, opening the Muddy Creek Music Hall in May.
Shana Whitehead created Muddy Creek Cafe with a coffee house style breakfast and lunch menu four years ago. Located at 5455 Bethania Road, the cafe is housed in a renovated old mill building.
“Friends came in asking if they could play music,” said Whitehead. The evening music was a hit with customers. As the music became a primary draw for the cafe, the business shifted to later hours, with music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Then Whitehead gained a business partner, Bill Heath, who focused on growing the music. “Bill really expanded the business,” said Whitehead. A stage was built outside, complete with lights and sound system, accomodating full bands.
Local musicians were invited to play for tips. “The musicians enjoy playing at the cafe, because it is a family atmosphere where they can bring their children and parents,” Whitehead explained.
In addition the cafe hosts special events such as an Antique Jubilee, Pimento Cheese Throwdown, music festivals, local fundraisers, women’s author events, and Peace, Love and Muddy Creek celebration. “We love music, food, books, and arts of all kinds,” said Whitehead.
“This past winter was the busiest winter that we’ve had,” Whitehead explained. “There were nights when it was so crowded, people would tell us the next day that they drove by, looked inside, could not find a place to sit or stand, and kept going.”
That is when they realized the need to expand. “We wanted to accomodate bigger crowds,” said Whitehead. When the neighboring space became available, it provided the same atmosphere and the space they needed.
Keeping the same set up at the cafe with food and music, Muddy Creek has now added the Music Hall. “It allows us to do bigger shows, accomodating twice as many people, and stay open later,” said Whitehead.
A sound system and stage were added to the new space. “The musicians do not need to bring their own sound system, and they like that,” said Whitehead. The space also includes a green room for the musicians to practice and warm up.
With the expansion, Muddy Creek has been able to provide more hours for thier employees and hire an additional bartender in the Music Hall to serve wine and beer.
In their first month the Music Hall has hosted jam bands, folk music, bluegrass, and jazz. “We’ve had a great response,” Whitehead said.
Regular entertainment includes Jason McKinney’s authentic jazz on Mondays, singer/songwriter spotlights, a monthly Bluegrass Showcase hosted by Jody King, and the Fiddle and Bow Society on first and third Fridays.
On June 5 Singer/Songwriter Ryan Newcomb will play at the Cafe beginning at 7 p.m., and Fiddle and Bow Society with Mean Mary will play in the Music Hall beginning at 8 p.m. with a $12 cover charge. On June 6 The Drafthouse Band will play at the Cafe beginning at 7 p.m., and Donna Hughes will play in the Music Hall beginning at 9 p.m. with a $5 cover charge.
For more information about upcoming performances visit muddycreekcafe.com, call 336-923-8623, or find them at www.facebook.com/muddycreekmusichall.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.