Baha Men to ‘Let the dogs out’ at Autumnfest on October 10th at 7pm!

WOONSOCKET – They bellowed one of the most famous phrases to come out of popular culture in recent decades, in a hit song that’s still used as a go-to rallying jam at sporting events.

Baha Men, the band behind the 2000 smash hit “Who Let The Dogs Out,” will headline Autumnfest 2015 on Saturday night, Oct. 10, in a free concert.

The choice marks a major departure from the festival’s usual headliners. For years, acts from the 1950s and 1960s have dominated the line-up, with doo-wop bands and country acts playing pop hits for the massive festival crowds.

“It’s going to be different,” said Autumnfest Chairman Jeff Gamache. “It’s the most current act we’ve ever had. To actually have the opportunity to bring in an act that has hits in the millennium is fantastic.”

Hailing from the Bahamas, the Baha Men formed in the late 1970s as a 9-piece band with a distinct Junkanoo sound. Originating in the Bahamas as street parade music, Junkanoo uses a variety of traditional instruments as well as goat skin drums, conch shells and whistles, among other items.

“It’s a very festival sound,” said Gamache “It’s fun music that makes you move your feet.”

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” won the 2000 Grammy for Best Dance Recording and peaked at number 18 on the U.S. Mainstream Top 40 Chart. It reached number two on the UK Singles Chart and number one in Australia and New Zealand. The year of the catchy pop hit’s release, the band received a slew of awards, and was named World Music Artist of the Year and World Music Album of the Year. They were Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award Winners for ‘favorite song’ in 2000 and in 2002, they won for favorite band.

The song is still considered the top sports anthem in the country, and the most recent edition Sports Illustrated featured a five-page story on the band, the song and its longevity.

“I go to dances with my kids and it’s still one of the biggest hits they play,” said Gamache.

But the bark-laden ballad is far from the band’s only claim to fame.

Baha Men have contributed to many children-oriented projects, appearing on three Disney Mania albums and the Disney television show, “Stanley.” They have also appeared on numerous movie soundtracks including: “Rugrats in Paris,” “Miss Congeniality,” “Rat Race,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Garfield – The Movie,” “Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course,” and “Shrek.”

“They have other things people will be familiar with – especially families,” said Gamache. “Kids love it.”

Other hits by the Baha Men include “Best Year of Our Lives,” from the “Shrek” soundtrack, “Move it Like This,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and “Night and Day.”

The band has released a new album, “Ride With Me,” on the 15-year anniversary of the release of their iconic hit. It is their first full-length album in 10 years and they believe it will have universal, international appeal.

Gamache points out that with months still to go before the annual city festival, a single from the album could take off, making the act a huge attraction.

“You have a millennium hit that is still extremely well known today, and you have a comeback album coming out just before the festival,” he said.

The stop in Woonsocket also marks the launch of the band’s 2015 nationwide tour.

“I believe this is the first time they will be performing in Rhode Island,” said Gamache.

The band choice marks a major departure from the style of past Autumnfest’s headliners, but Gamache said the decision is more about economics than a change in philosophy.

“I don’t go in with preconceptions,” he said. “I start looking at acts and price brackets.”

“For a few years, I have heard that Autumnfest needs something different in terms of entertainment. The Baha Men answer that need. They are a high energy, family-oriented act the likes that Autumnfest has never seen before.”

Gamache is hopeful the band will appeal to a younger demographic, bringing more families to the Columbus Day weekend festival.

“They have something on pop charts without drugs, sex or racial slurs,” said Gamache. “That’s a big thing to me because we’re a family festival. It also gives the urban youth a shining example on the stage of what can be done with music. It doesn’t all have to be all obscenities.

Autumnfest is held every Columbus Day Weekend at World War II Memorial State Park, Social Street and is now entering its 37th year.

By SANDY SEOANE, Valley Breeze Staff Writer