Clapp

The Geoff Clapp Trio will headline the Blues & Brewgrass Celebration on Sunday at Riverfront Park in Tarboro.

After a year’s delay due to the pandemic, Tarboro’s annual mixing of music, craft beer and food trucks returns for its third year with a name change.

The Tarboro Brewgrass Festival is now the Blues & Brewgrass Celebration and will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Riverfront Park in Tarboro.

This year’s celebration will feature musical performers the Geoff Clapp Trio with Chris Boerner and Sam Fribush along with special guest DaShawn Hickman’s Sacred Steel Band.

Food trucks from Brandy’s, Poblanos and xQuisito will be on-hand as will eight area breweries.

The breweries include Duck Rabbit, Mythic Brewing, Koi Pond, Hopfly, Casita, Pitt Street, Spaceway and Tarboro Brewing Company.

Clapp, a native North Carolinian, has toured Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada and has had the honor of performing and teaching as a U.S. Artistic Diplomat in North Africa and Eastern Europe. He currently teaches a master’s course at Tulane University in New Orleans.

He started playing at age 3 when his parents gave him a green and blue sparkle toy drum set one Christmas morning. Throughout his high school years, Clapp was involved in various musical situations from church groups to the Northeast Middle School Jazz Ensemble and the N.C. All-State Band.

From 1987-89, he studied classical percussion at the N.C. School of Arts in Winston Salem under the tutelage of Massie Johnson. In the summer of 1989, the NCSA Jazz Ensemble and classical quartet went on a European tour representing the school and sharing its talents.


In the fall of 1989, Clapp headed south to New Orleans to study jazz performance at the University of New Orleans with the legendary Ellis Marsalis, whom he played music with until Marsalis’ death in 2020.

During his formative years in New Orleans, Clapp became one of the city’s most sought-after drummers, not only for jazz but many genres of music. He continues to teach drummers from around the world in his home studio and at Tulane.

The bio on Chris Boerner’s website says Boerner “is a straight-shootin’, clean livin’ guitarist/singer/songwriter who performs like some kind of a road-hardened guitar maniac on one song, a 1950s pop idol on another, a Southern troubadour on the next — and at last blows you out of the galaxy with an antique blues tune that might well give John Lee Hooker pause.”

His songwriting reflects this eclectic mix and Boerner cites Ray Charles, Tom Waits, Willie Dixon, Mose Allison, Gregg Allman, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan and Willis Alan Ramsey as a few of his influences.

Boerner was born and raised in Augusta, Ga., but lived in the Midwest for 20 years before settling down with his wife in Nashville, Tenn.

Fribush was born in Greensboro and like Clapp, spent time in New Orleans. He began his professional career at a young age, playing a variety of instruments, including the steel pan and banjo.

These days, his instrument of choice is a Hammond organ.

Hickman is a virtuoso of the pedal steel guitar. He came up in the sacred steel tradition, first taught by his mother. He founded the Allen Boys and performs with a variety of musicians including Riley Baugus, Anya Hinkle and more. He lives in Mount Airy.