CoCHILLa to feature local musicians’ work

Date Published: 
May 23, 2014

This weekend, residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to sample the talents of some of the area’s singers and songwriters at a unique free event, when the Big Chill Surf Cantina in Rehoboth Beach will host the second CoCHILLa event, on Sunday, May 25, at 4:30 p.m., organized by local musician Melissa Alesi.

Along with Alesi, other area artists, including Mike Givens, Jason Lee, Timothy Cooney, and Josh Pryor, will perform. Mike Anthenelli will also be performing at the event for the first time.

“I know most of them,” explained Alesi of the artists. “Others, I asked around and said, ‘Hey — who’s your favorite singer-songwriter?’ A lot of them from the area really enjoy doing benefits and fundraisers, so it really wasn’t hard to get people to sign on.”

Alesi said she approached the restaurant last year after wanting to create an event that allowed local artists to showcase their work.

“I had originally approached Big Chill. I wanted to do an event that featured singers and songwriters’ music, because some artists around here do play some original stuff, but most places want you to just do covers,” explained Alesi. “I wanted something special, where it was only about artists and their music.”

Alesi approached the Big Chill Cantina, which jumped at the change to host the event.

“I’ve been fortunate to know Melissa for a few years. Between Nage and Big Chill, we’ve really enjoyed her music and the energy she brings on a nightly basis,” said Mark Harrison, who manages both Big Chill and Nage.

Alesi noted that the event is being coupled with a fundraiser for the Georgetown SPCA, as 10 percent of sales will go to benefit the shelter.

“I am a big supporter of animals and animal rights. Big Chill had worked with the Georgetown SPCA in the past for fundraising events, so when Mark said, ‘Want to do it for them?’ it was kind of a no-brainer.”

The first CoCHILLa event was held last October and, Alesi said, was deemed a huge success by all those who attended.

“It was really successful and a fun day, and not only did the artists truly enjoy it, but the people who were there listening really enjoyed it also. It was definitely a win for everybody,” said Alesi. “There was definitely a great turnout.”

Harrison said that CoCHILLa was a perfect fit for the restaurant’s Memorial Day weekend. So, on Friday, they will host a summer cocktail contest, followed by a Dogs-n-Drafts happy hour from 1 to 7 p.m., with the music starting at 4:30 p.m.

Friendly dogs are welcome to the event and will be provided with water and treats, while their owners and music lovers can enjoy cold beverages and the original tunes.

“That was pretty fun, having all the owners bring their dogs,” added Alesi.

Alesi said that having a venue to perform original work is extremely important for artists.

“It’s important, because it’s a big part of why we do what we do. It’s self-expression, and when you don’t’ have a lot of outlets to do that in the community, it takes away some of the drive and reason that you actually do it,” she said.

“It’s a really good cause and a fun time to be able to showcase the original stuff that you spend time on, put effort into and don’t get to share with everybody on a regular basis.”

Big Chill Surf Cantina is located at 19406 Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach. For more information, call (302) 727-5568.