'Soul Man' singer's passion for music lives on with Ocilla music fest

'Soul Man' singer's passion for music lives on with Ocilla music fest
People enjoying the 2015 Dave Prater Fest. (Source: WALB)
People enjoying the 2015 Dave Prater Fest. (Source: WALB)
Dave Prater received a gold record when he was an artist for STAX records (Source: Ron Moody)
Dave Prater received a gold record when he was an artist for STAX records (Source: Ron Moody)
The Ocilla-Irwin Chamber President Cathy Stott is working to promote the Dave Prater Music Fest. With Connie Prater. (Source: WALB)
The Ocilla-Irwin Chamber President Cathy Stott is working to promote the Dave Prater Music Fest. With Connie Prater. (Source: WALB)

OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Ocilla is a small South Georgia town with a big claim to fame in music history!

The musician behind 1960's decade hit "Soul Man" was born and raised in Irwin County-- and will be celebrated in a music festival!

The 4th Annual Dave Prater Fest is growing, and organizers want to build the festival with even more musical acts, attracting people from outside Ocilla to visit.

Prater's niece, Connie Prater, said her famous uncle-- one half of the band "Sam & Dave"--would be delighted by his hometown's music festival.

"We are just proud as a family to have a member like that. And, his legacy continues. Even years after his death (in 1998) you can hear still hear those Sam & Dave songs in commercials. Even the Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi, made him famous, too."

The Blues Brothers recorded "Soul Man" in 1980.

The Street Dance is Friday, May 11 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. with Southern Soul performing. It is free to the public.

But, the festivities begin Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 pm. at Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Prater grew up and sang as a boy.

On Thursday, at the Irwin County High School Cafeteria at 6:00 p.m., a deserving Irwin County High School student will receive the Dave Prater scholarship. Prater's niece said Prater didn't attend college, but sought success in the music field.

The scholarship is designed to help further a young person's dream, whether they attend a formal college or strike out on a different path.

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