Summer is upon us and we are preparing for pool parties, picnics and playing outside. Of course, this also means summer concerts where you can see who is hot, who is making a move and hear your favorite artist. The summer concert season has a fix for every type of music junky. These concerts can be hosted in large outdoor venues which may feature up to 30 acts, to indoor festivals which may feature as few as five with the hottest talent in the industry. Whether you seek chart busting artist or local favorites, summer is definitely the time of year to get out there and enjoy live music.
On Mother’s Day, I had the pleasure of kicking off my outdoor concert season with a local favorite, The Candlelight Jazz Series in Augusta, Georgia. This summer series is sponsored in part by the City of Augusta and Garden City Jazz. What I love of about this concert series is the intimacy. Yes, I said intimacy. Concerts are focused on bringing the masses to the music.
I have attended Jazz Festivals where I felt like a speck of dust on a flower in Whoville. There were literally thousands of people, all jockeying and vying for a patch of grass to spread a quilt. The bathrooms are overcrowded, and it never fails, that I get the stall that just ran out of paper. The lines are long, the patrons are hot, tempers are flaring and I leave stressed out. This, is not a relaxing experience.
I have attended “free” outdoor concerts where again, not only am I vying for a spot near or under a tree, I have to fight for a spot that is not loaded with a young family. As a firm believer in truth in writing, it is with no shame that I admit, I attended the free concert, because I, like many of the attendees was broke with nothing else to do. I packed my lunch basket with cheap wine, lots of ice, bug spray and a positive attitude. I did not leave with one. I left with a sour feeling in my stomach and a firm understanding that sometimes you don’t need to bring the masses to the music, but music to the masses.
The Candlelight Jazz series does just that. It offers diverse programming all summer long for lovers of music in a safe, family friendly environment. It happens in the calm of the evening juxtaposed against the Savannah River, with the freshness of the air blowing in off the water. The coolness of the acts on stage are inviting, as they soothe the savage beast in you whilst preparing you for your work week. Friends and family gather with table coverings, bottles of wine are uncorked as glasses are filled, people get merry an
d the music begins to play. Lawn chairs are opened as patrons sit back, relax, and enjoy live music.
There is no hustle. There is no bustle. Grandma Earline and Aunt Annie rise to dance on the make shift dance floor of the sidewalk that leads to the stage. Little Becka Summerall, adorned in her pink tutu, hits the dance floor and begins modified pirouettes. Teens, who were forced to come, find themselves enjoying the
evening and one or two even get up to dance with one of their parents. The concert starts at 8 pm and by 9:30, everyone is heading home, eager for next week, so they can return to enjoy another Sunday evening at the River.
It is an intimate affair because you make new friends. You share your wine with your neigh
bor and promise next week to bring more fruit and cheese to part with your new pals. If you have not tried or experienced Candlelight Jazz at the River, it is time to mature your music experience. I am currently the Foursquare Mayor of Candlelight Jazz, so when you come down to the river, look for me, and if you locate and snag a photo with me, you just may win a prize.
Candlelight Jazz Concert Series
River Stage at 8th Street (@ Riverwalk),
downtown Augusta, Georgia.
free for children under age 13
The Candlelight Jazz Concert Series, sponsored by City of Augusta Special Events, Metro Spirit, Dapper & Company, and 96.3 KISS FM, begins in May and continues through Labor Day Weekend. Bring your own seating and picnic for an evening of great music under the stars at the Riverwalk in downtown Augusta.
Click HERE for season tickets – available through midnight May 5
- Summer Gazebo Concerts in Downtown Madison (whnt.com)
- NYC Free Concerts (local.answers.com)
- Durham’s new free outdoor summer concert series announces lineup (indyweek.com)
- Casino to host summer outdoor concert series (goerie.com)