WAC seeks summer concert performers
The Watauga Arts Council has summer on the mind.
With its popular Concerts on the Lawn series but a season away, the council is now accepting performance requests from area musicians, due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 12.
Those interested should contact Watauga Arts Council folklorist Mark Freed at the Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone. Musicians who have not performed at the Jones house in the last couple years should include a CD and any information about their performances and music.
"We offer a small stipend to perform, but mostly it's just for the enjoyment of performing for the summer concerts," Freed said.
The complimentary summer concerts are held every Friday in the early evening, beginning June 4 and continuing into September, featuring artists with roots in Watauga and surrounding counties. The series has become a staple of summertime in Boone, and come 5:30 p.m. each Friday, music-lovers of all ages fill the Jones House lawn for a couple hours of music at its purest.
Each concert usually features two different acts, while showcase events see much more, like the Evening of Watauga Women Songwriters, the Downtown Boone Bluegrass Bonanza and an Evening of Barbershop Quartets.
"Last year's series went very well," Freed said, mentioning such names as Amantha Mill, The Lazybirds, Southern Accent and Echo Park. "We've continued to increase attendance, having a couple record-attending events right at the heart of summer, and we expect to continue that."
Last summer's series benefited from comfortable weather and, for the most part, bright sunshiny days, as familiar faces and Jones House newcomers hit the stage (or porch, in this case). Freed estimates about 300 people attend on a nice day.
"It's great to be in downtown Boone at that time of day," Freed said, adding that the concerts are a draw to locals, seasonal residents and tourists. "There are lots of restaurants, the shops are open, and there are few better places to sit than underneath the big maple trees on the Jones House front lawn."
This year, concert-goers can expect some of the same and plenty of new.
"We've got a couple ideas up our sleeve," Freed said, mentioning the addition of food at certain events. "We'll definitely have a couple of showcases of some sort. It's fun to have a showcase that helps us include more artists, since we don't always have enough spaces for performers to have their own or shared evening, so this is a good way to include more artists and expose people to more local music. We usually have very receptive audiences, so it's a great opportunity for artists to come show off their stuff. Everybody comes to downtown Boone."
The Watauga Arts Council is also seeking season-long and individual concert sponsors for this year's series. Musicians and sponsors interested in participating should contact Freed at (828) 264-1789 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Artists should also make note of particular dates they prefer or cannot make. Freed expects the complete concert lineup by mid-March.
"We usually have more performers wanting to play than we have space available, so we do our best to include everybody," Freed said. "Unfortunately, that's never the case. Fortunately, we're blessed to have such a musical community."
The Watauga Arts Council is based in the Jones House Community Center, located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-1789 or visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.