More than a stage
October 11, 2022
The stage, small from a distance, is huge under their feet. The crowd applauding and gasping with support over every note they sing, over every chord they strum.
Musicians that have stepped upon the Windjammer stage have felt this excitement, and so much more.
The Windjammer is an iconic and important part of Charleston, being the biggest venue for live music at the beach. The Windjammer opened in April of 1972, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. The Venue has both inside and outside stages as well as a bar and restaurant.
The Windjammer has had many notable and great musicians perform on their stage, as well as smaller and local artists.
Scottie Frier has been working as the talent buyer and the social media manager at Windjammer since March of 2018,
“It’s amazing, it’s my dream job. It’s my favorite place on the planet. It was my favorite place to see concerts before I started booking the concerts there,” Frier said.
Frier, himself, has performed hundreds of times on the stage as well as seen hundreds of concerts. Joining the staff of the Windjammer just felt right for him.
Frier handles all bookings of the bands, both opening and headline, and both inside and outside stage.
As an employee, Frier not only adores the atmosphere and liveliness of the building, but the family that’s been made within it.
“As a whole it’s very much a family atmosphere. There’s guys who have been working there for decades, there are regulars who have been going and coming there for concerts and to hang out for decades. We are very very known for keeping our staff for a long time, “ Frier said.
“One of our bartenders was telling us when we were celebrating our fiftieth anniversary that he would mark their little girl’s height at the Windjammer. When they first started their families, they were renting houses and the one place they knew they could count on was the Windjammer… I mean that’s a great example of what a family that place really is.”
Along with his duties at the Windjammer, Frier spreads his passion for music by playing and teaching the guitar. Frier loves seeing the impact the music he teaches has on his students.
“It’s really cool to see a kid come in and A, their confidence grows and B, they come in with a goal of either wanting a song or to learn how to play a certain style of music,” Frier said
“As soon as they hit a note or lick or song they’ve started to play, that smile they give you is really rewarding. It’s really really cool to see people accomplish something they didn’t think they’d be able to beforehand.”
Every six months or so, Frier takes his students to play at the Windjammer as a part of their learning experience.
“It’s such a cool stage. It’s a legendary stage. I mean it was a huge part of Hootie and the Blowfish … It’s really cool to take the kids there and have them play on the stage that means something to them, but means something to their parents. Their parents have seen some of their biggest musical heroes on that stage,” Frier said.
“It’s taken very seriously by the students. It’s not just like a backyard party or something, playing at the Windjammer just has a different ring to it. The kids really love it.”
Carleigh Torykian is a senior at Wando who is very familiar with the Windjammer. Her brother, Will Torykian, is an eighth grader who takes lessons from Frier and has played guitar and bass on stage many times. Carleigh Torikyan has watched him perform numerous times at the Windjammer before.
“He makes me insanely proud, and I’m kinda amazed because I always get annoyed when he’s practicing around the house… but watching him, it’s awesome, ” Carleigh Torykian said.
“I just see pure joy on face, what he really likes to do is music and perform..for him to go up on that stage and just have a smile on his face and just enjoy what he’s doing, he just has a lot of pure happiness with that,” Carleigh Toriykan said
Carleigh Torikyan not only loves the old beach atmosphere of the Windjammer, but also appreciates the workers as well.
“I think the [employees] are great considering all they have to deal with, especially late at night,” Torkian said.
“I think the fact that they are so open to all types of people and the variety of people that perform there and they’re open to anyone, I think is really amazing,” Carleigh Torikyan said.
Evan Beckner is a senior at Wando and also takes lessons from Frier. He, himself, has performed at the Windjammer several times.
“Over the course of six months we’ll work to narrow down two-three songs we’ll play live at the students’ show. You’ll basically go up, play those songs and go off in a rotation. It’s a really fun, really challenging, but enjoyable experience,” Beckner said.
Having been up on the stage several times, Beckner has found the audience to be very supportive and encouraging.
“It’s generally really welcoming. I think most people go there to go.. get a good show. So I think most people there just like fun. So if you’re there to have fun, you’ll have a good time,” Beckner said.
Even so, Beckner stills feels stage fright on such a big and iconic stage,
“I [was] horrified. Especially the first time I went up, I remember I just froze halfway through my first song because it was so scary. But I think with time it’s gotten better. Eventually the more you play up there the more you get used to it. I still have stage fright but I’m kinda used to it now. It’s fun, the adrenaline rush kinda overtakes it,” Beckener said.
“Getting on stage and getting to play in front of all these people is just really exciting.”