Summer on the Lawn
Officially, summer starts June 20.
Unofficially, it starts June 1 on the Jones House lawn.
The Watauga Arts Council has released its lineup for this year’s Concerts on the Lawn series, a weekly offering of live music in cool, open air of downtown Boone.
“I think it’ll be another summer packed full of lots of great people,” Watauga Arts Council folklorist and concert organizer Mark Freed said.
He’s referring to both artists and attendees, all of whom drop by the Jones House every Friday at 5 p.m. to hear the best of local and regional talent.
As with series before, this year’s features newcomers to the Jones House porch, along with some familiar faces and a few surprises. “The biggest change will be First Friday,” Freed said.
The arts council is collaborating with downtown Boone’s First Friday Art Crawl for an extra performance on those particular nights, following the artists’ reception at the Jones House galleries.
“So, we’ll make more of a longer, festive evening on those First Fridays, and we’ve got some good groups lined up for those,” Freed said.
After last year’s unveiling of the Doc Watson statue in downtown Boone, which was followed by a full-capacity (and then some) concert at the Jones, Freed said the council plans to keep the celebration going with another Doc Watson celebration, this year’s set for June 15 and featuring The Kruger Brothers and Watson’s longtime friend and musician Charles Welch.
“We’re trying to keep an annual celebration of Doc as part of the concert series,” Freed said. “That’s not to say that he’ll play, but, of course, he’s invited. It’s a celebration of his music.”
2012 marks the council’s 20th year of hosting the series, and a 20th Season Celebration is set for June 29, featuring Becca Eggers-Gryder and Diane Hackworth, both longtime series performers.
“Becca, I think, is the only musician who’s played all 20 years,” Freed said. “For the first couple years, she played for pretty much half the summer.”
The anniversary celebration, he said, is the council’s chance to say “thanks” to its audience and the community.
“It’s grown to be a nice series, something that makes Boone a better place to be in the summer,” Freed said.
Freed feels confident the series will endure, despite the Boone Town Council’s action in April that would terminate the town’s contract with the arts council, which is headquartered in the town-owned Jones House Community Center. The town council agreed to extended its contract and lease agreement with the arts council through Sept. 30.
“From my perspective, (the Concerts on the Lawn series) is a tradition that a lot of people like, and everybody on all sides seems to want it to continue, and I think we’ll find a way to make that happen. We’re just going to focus on what we do well, which is putting on a good show – free live music, right downtown. You can’t beat that.”
Starting at 5 p.m. each Friday, the Concerts on the Lawn are free events. They take place at the Jones House Community Center, located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for the lawn.
For more information, call (828) 262-4576 or visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.
June 1 – Matthew Weaver & Trevor McKenzie and Swing Guitars and Major Sevens
June 8 – Wayne Henderson and Elkville String Band
June 15 – Doc Watson celebration with Kruger Brothers and Charles Welch
June 22 – New River Boys and Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
June 29 – 20th Season Celebration with Becca Eggers-Gryder & Amantha Mill, Diane Hackworth and Steve & Ruth Smith
July 6 – Cowboy poet Keith Ward and Worthless Son-In-Laws and Possum Jenkins
July 13 – Bag piper Fox Kinsman, Forget-Me-Nots and Todd Wright & Friends
July 20 – Melissa Reaves and The Lazybirds
July 27 – Bluegrass Showcase with Surefire, The Dollar Brothers and Carolina Crossing
Aug. 3 – Old-time Showcase with Steve Kruger, Crooked Road Ramblers and The Sheets Family
Aug. 10 – Songwriters and Storytellers: Sound Traveler, Lisa Baldwin & Dave Haney, Charlotte Ross and Orville Hicks
Aug. 17 – Boone Mennonite Brethren Choir and Soul Benefactor
Aug. 24 – Buck Haggard Band and Strictly Clean & Decent
Aug. 31 – Dashboard Hula Boys and Kirby, Welch & Stone
Sept. 7 – Watauga Youth Showcase with Pizzicato Quartet, Burnett Family, Sarah McGuire and more
Sept. 14 – Rhonda Gouge and King Bees Duo
Sept. 21 – Echo Park