‘Beatles Night’ in Driver

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Most Friday nights, you will hear toe-tappin’, guitar-pickin’, bluegrass or classic rock coming from Arthur’s General Store in Driver.

But this week, the British are invading.

“It’s ‘Beatles Night’ this week,” said Greg Parker, owner of Arthur’s General Store and a musician. “We do it once a year.”

Email newsletter signup

Suffolk will be all about the Beatles on Friday, as the Fab Four will also be the subjects of a show, “Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience,” at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts that evening.

Parker started the jam sessions at his circa-1920s store at 3118 Kings Highway about four years ago. What started as impromptu concerts a couple of times a month have evolved into regular weekly shows that typically draw 35 or 40 people into the small, clapboard store on Friday nights.

From 6-9 p.m. Friday, Parker and his fellow musicians will perform several sets of the Beatles’ legendary hits on their acoustic guitars.

While they’re listening to the music, folks can also look at several posters, album covers and books about the Beatles that Parker will have on display around the store.

Attendees will also be able to buy dinner — sandwiches, homemade soup and drinks — at Arthur’s, he said.

Typically, classic rock is highlighted on the first and third Friday of the month; the second and fourth Fridays are reserved for bluegrass.

The concerts are informal and loosely planned, Parker said.

“Sometimes there is a little country music thrown in,” Parker said. “We never know exactly who is coming; sometimes my son and his friends play.”

This time of year, the concerts are held inside the tiny store. But during the spring and fall, Parker will set up on the store’s front porch, sometimes attracting up to 60 people.

There is no cover charge, although people are welcome to donate when the hat is passed around, Parker said.

“It helps pay the light bill,” he said.

Like many small businesses, Arthur’s General Store has struggled in recent years to compete with larger chain stores. He has tried to make music a niche to attract new customers.

“We are kind of off the beaten path … and we have to keep piquing people’s curiosity,” Parker said. “Business is always pretty good on Friday nights. We are still hanging on by a thread.”