COLUMBIA — The lawn next to Mojo’s was packed with blankets and folding chairs Friday as people came out to enjoy the relaxing sound of bluegrass music and honor an old friend. It was not just the first outdoor show in the plot of land next to Mojo’s, it was the first music played at Forrest Rose Park.
The sloped, grassy lawn, shaded by several trees, was officially dedicated to the memory of Forrest Rose at 6 p.m. Friday.
Richard King, owner of Mojo’s and The Blue Note and a longtime friend of Rose’s, wants to transform the lot, now officially named Forrest Rose Park, into a landscaped outdoor venue as a salute to the musician, columnist, friend and mentor, who died March 20, 2005, at the age of 48.
“This is our little way of saying thank you to Forrest,” said King. “What a perfect salute to a man who affected my life in so many ways.”
Rose was well known and loved in town as a Columbia Daily Tribune columnist as well as a bassist for numerous bands. He was also a frequent performer at Mojo’s, which made the park dedication even more special.
Family and friends of Rose’s and residents of Columbia gathered in the park Friday night to listen to music by Noah Earl, Dave Angle and Curly Joe Harper, Hilary Scott and Bill Adams and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Guests could also enjoy a buffet of Jamaican jerk chicken, red beans and rice, potato salad, hot dogs and watermelon.
Many came just to remember and honor Rose.
“It’s a very emotional time, but a beautiful time, too. Forrest was a great musician, and it was a joy to know him,” said Harper, a longtime friend of Rose’s.
Children played in front of the stage while bluegrass music rose up, reaching families sprawled on blankets up to the top of the sloped lawn. The atmosphere was one of family fun, something Rose’s friends knew he would have enjoyed.
“I think this is exactly what Forrest would have loved,” said Tracy Lane, director of Thumper Productions and a friend of Rose’s. “I’m sure he’s very happy today.”
Friends agreed the park dedication was the perfect way to recognize Rose, who had such a positive effect on the town and people of Columbia.
“All of us who loved him think about him every day,” said Bernadette Dryden, Rose’s former girlfriend of five years. “I was trying to think of what he would say about today. He would have had something clever to say.”