Mountain Empire Shag Society Inc

Mountain Empire Shag Society Inc (commonly known as MESS) was loosely formed in late 1991 by a group of people who
loved the shag dance, the music, & the lifestyle  surrounding the music & the dance.  MESS had its first annual meeting in
December 1992, & from there we have just kept growing year by year.

MESS became a Federal non-profit 501 (c) (7) corporation on November 5, 2019.

MESS was accepted as a regular member into the
Association of Carolina Shag Clubs in 1996.  
ACSC is the national association that serves the purpose of perpetuating the shag dance & the music.  
To find out more about the
ACSC, check out their website at www.shagdance.com.

MESS has grown from only a few members in 1991 to over 200 members at the present time.

Our Purpose
We promote the shag dance, the music associated with the dance,
the friendships generated by the dance & the music, the continued existence
of the dance & the music, & the lifestyle of the shag dance world.

When We Meet
The club meets every Monday (except holidays) in the 101 West Ballroom at Holiday Inn or at the VFW in Johnson City,
Tennessee with the music starting at 7pm.  We provide free basic shag lessons away from the main dance floor between 7:30
and 8:00.  
Larry "Bigfish" Calhoun & Gary "Big Daddy" Combs are our club DJs.  A typical Monday night will have 50 to 70 people in
attendance & is naturally filled with shag music along with a couple songs for line dances.  Things tend to wind down around
9:30 pm.

At Holiday Inn, there is a full-service restaurant & lounge across the hall from the ballroom.  You can order a number of
appetizers along with a full compliment of entrees if you're really hungry.  Their food is really good & competitively priced.  
Their drink prices are about average for a restaurant bar.   If you're really picky about your drink, "top shelf" drinks are

We hope to see YOU on Monday nights!

Our one-day parties
We typically have four parties each year.  Three of them are one-day events not heavily advertised.  We have a spring party in
early April, a summer party in August, & a Christmas party in December.  These parties are typically FREE for members in good
standing & a reasonable charge for non-members.  The party includes beer, wine, setups, MESS-a-holic punch, & primary
entree.  The members are asked to bring a covered dish of some sort to add variety to the meal.  You will be overwhelmed at
the wonderful assortment of salads, side items, & desserts that the members bring.

Our annual two-day Fall Bash party in October
This is our annual two-day party that is held in October.
It is limited to 225 people, & we have SOLD OUT  the last FIFTEEN years.  
Check the MESS Parties page in starting February for the details about this party.
It's a really fun event, & you won't want to miss the Fall Bash after you've attended the first time.  
Hope to see YOU at the Fall Bash!

SOS - What is it????
Well, SOS is correctly known as Society of Stranders & came about in the early 1980's because of a desire of old beach bums,
life guards, hot dog vendors, umbrella attendants, & various other teenager beach maniacs from the 50's & 60's to have a
reunion.  The first one was an overwhelming success & has grown immensely over the years to what it is today.  None of the
original bunch had a clue that it would turn out to be the huge event it is in this day & time.

What it is today?
SOS now happens three times a year in the Main Street area of North Myrtle Beach (uhhh, that's South Carolina if you ain't
from around here).  These are the ultimate shag & beach parties because they are happening in several shag clubs over the
span of several days.

Spring Safari
Spring Safari typically starts on the 3rd Friday of April & ends 10 days later on Sunday.  The participating clubs have various
functions during this time with live bands, shag contests, & on the last Saturday, they have the SOS Spring Safari Parade.  
This parade is the most outrageous thing you'll see with the exception of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  It's a lot like our
Kingsport Fun Fest parade, but it's geared more toward an adult audience & also geared to the shag dance & the music.  It is
a wonderful spring celebration that you surely don't want to miss!!!

Fall Migration
Fall Migration typically starts on the 3rd Friday of September, & like Spring Safari, ends 10 days later on Sunday.  Same clubs
do the same things as they did in the spring without the parade.  The big difference is Fun Sunday & Fun Monday.  Both days
feature live Carolina beach & R&B bands outdoors and are free to the public.  Fun Sunday is held on 1st Avenue right beside
O.D. Arcade & Lounge (Bigfish's hangout & DJ place).  Fun Monday is held right in the middle of Main Street (yeah, the street
is blocked off to protect the drivers).  These events are similar to our Kingsport Fun Fest concerts because they are all about
bringing lawn chairs & blankets.  Once again, it's another grand celebration, & a great way to wind down the end of summer.

At one time this party was only for ACSC shag club members, but it's popularity eventually changed it into a mini-SOS.  It
typically takes place starting on the 2nd Thursday of January & only lasts until the following Sunday.  The big thing here
is...the party is intense!!!  Everything is compacted into just a few days, & it is wide open.  Again, it's a great way to
celebrate...whatever you want to celebrate.

SOS Cards
You must have an SOS card to attend these events.  You can get them from our club secretary or from the ACSC.  See our
secretary for more information.  The SOS card costs $30 per year thru the club or $35 per year at the beach.  It is good from
Jan to Dec & can get you lots of good discounts at various businesses in the shag world.

We sell raffle tickets to support an SOS children's charity & to cover the costs of having the LIVE bands at Fun Sunday & Fun
Monday.  Be sure to buy one from our club officers who sell them.  You have really good odds (especially compared to state /
national lotteries) of winning several thousand dollars, keeping the great beach / R&B bands coming, & supporting a
wonderful children's charity.

The purpose of the Icon Award is to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions within their own local
(Full Member, A.C.S.C.) shag club. Nominees for this award have made significant efforts and contributions to their local shag
club & are clearly outstanding members of the shag community. Although some of these nominees may go on to be well
known in the shag world (the A.C.S.C. or S.O.S., the C.S.A., the DJ Association, etc.) many of these individuals may not be
known outside of their own club. This award has come to be one of the most highly prized awards that a shagger can attain.

Our shag club member, Larry "Bigfish" Calhoun, received this award in 2008.

Click the link below to see more information about how the award is chosen &
to see the people who have been selected for the award since the inception.
ACSC Shagging Icon Awards & Members
Brenda and Wendel Boyd
Inaugural Recipients
Lifetime Achievement Award
Debbie and Larry Calhoun
Lifetime Achievement Award
Larry "Bigfish" Calhoun
Shaggin' Icon Award
2021 membership is 152 as of 01/07/2021.
Fall Bash
SOLD OUT as of 03/05/2021
End of page - Click on Home to go back to top of page
MESS meets
Monday nights
7:00 pm

VFW Johnson City
Post 2108
2518 Jim Funkhouser Rd
Johnson City, TN
(dancing temporarily
suspended due to COVID)

Holiday Inn
(dancing temporarily
suspended due to COVID)

$5.00 Members
$10.00 Non-member
First 2 visits FREE

Free Beginner Lessons
about 7:30 pm


May 31st
Memorial Day

September 6th
Labor Day
Monday shag SUSPENDED at least thru Monday, March 8th.
Survey on the 7th will determine if and when we restart.
For details, contact Boyd Bush at 423-747-0745 or via email at

MESS Monday Zoom Session
Monday, Mar 8th
with Bigfish as the DJ