James Wesley will headline the 2016 Ham & Yam Festival with a free concert scheduled for Saturday, May 7th.
With his smooth voice, Wesley sings directly to real people about real things that profoundly affect real lives—and from his small-town upbringing to his blue-collar work ethic, he has a deep understanding of what those folks are longing to hear. One of the top rising stars in country music, Wesley found a new level of exposure as the opening act for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now Tour, and has released several singles.
“We are excited to have James Wesley at the Ham & Yam Festival,” according to Sarah Edwards, festival organizer and Executive Director of Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. “He is a very talented artist, and his music will certainly resonate with many people in our area.”
“Jackson Hole,” the first single from Wesley’s highly anticipated Real album, debuted at 54 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Four other singles have followed, including “Walking Contradiction,” top 25 country chart hits “Real” and “Didn’t I,” and “Thank A Farmer,” which was inspired by Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” speech and appeared on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. In 2015, Wesley partnered with Calcutta to produce the single and music video “Hooked Up,” a song inspired by anglers who chase blue marlin at the legendary Big Rock off the coast of Morehead City.
In addition to the free 8:00 p.m. concert on Saturday, May 7, there will be entertainment on the festival’s three stages throughout the day. “We are fortunate to have a large number of very talented up and coming musicians and entertainers here in Johnston County and North Carolina, and are pleased to be able to shine a spotlight on them at the festival,” Edwards said.
A full schedule of events will attract thousands of people to Downtown Smithfield, where the festival occupies several blocks. Craft and commercial vendors line the streets, food vendors offer a variety of fair foods and menu items featuring country ham and sweet potatoes, and additional entertainment comes in the form of pig races, children’s activities, and more.
The Ham & Yam Festival is organized by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation.