Dogtown's Party Hound 

A backyard festival, launched in honor of a basset hound, takes off.

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At his summer birthday bash June 9, Frampton was "the man."

Cool and somewhat aloof, he nonetheless seemed to relish the attention lavished on him by nearly everyone in the crowded backyard, especially the women who couldn't keep their hands off him. He might've hit the sauce early though — and not just because his eyes were so droopy. He was trying to lick a dirty wad of used chewing gum off the ground. And during the second band — the one with no official name — he could be seen dry-heaving beneath an occupied baby stroller. Not pretty from a 56-year-old.

But then again, Frampton is an 8-year-old basset hound (56 in dog years) — and a dog that digs the freedom rock. He celebrated his birthday in fine fashion with a two-year-old festival that bears his name: Framptonfest. The brainchild of his owner, Jack Taggart, the event is an attempt to add something to the local music scene, if only once a year.

"I wanted to offer an alternate venue for local bands to network and play to larger crowds," says Taggart, 40, who also plays in the Illbillies, a rock cover band that was the last to perform that evening.

Also playing for a crowd of about 200 were The Dirty Truth, The Lonely Teardrops and the "no name yet" band featuring Virgil Jones from Caution Cat. All Taggart had to do was set up a stage (with soundboard and mixer) in his shady backyard in Chesterfield County, and supply plenty of BBQ and about 20 cases of beer.

"Hey whatever I can do," Taggart says. "I remember more parties like these happening years ago."

"It's more chill here than a bar," said Hope Blessheart, singer/guitarist for The Lonely Teardops. "I love playing for stuff like this."

For next year's party, Taggart hopes to expand the event to include as many as 20 local bands that may have a hard time getting people out for their local shows. He hopes the event can raise money for a good cause, such as the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Family Memorial Endowment.

"This year was great — exhausting but great," Taggart says. "The party was supposed to end by 9 p.m., but everyone was still dancing and the cops shut us down around 9:30. … Frampton got freaked and ran off because everyone was cheering for him." S

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