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Gig in the Park, the popular spring concert series at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, is back for its 14 year in 2019, but you’ll have to reset your smartphone calendar reminders because the concerts will be moving from Wednesday to Thursday evenings.
The series kicks off on Thursday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. with series favorite The Embers featuring Craig Woolard. The Embers epitomize Carolina beach music and have been playing all across the country for more than 60 years. And while their concert crowds enjoy music for and about good summertime fun, they also appreciate the band’s wide repertoire of music that also reaches down into contemporary hits and fun standards.
Gig in the Park, which for many years was known as Downtown Alive, has moved away from its roots of being a series featuring mostly beach music bands. The series will now feature other types of music for its key 45 years and older demographic, ranging from bluegrass and Americana, to Southern rock and ’70s and ’80s music tribute bands.
“Beach music bands were more available on Wednesday evenings and more inexpensive, but when expanding the genres of music and outside the usual repertoire, we found that cost didn’t matter,” said Susan Kellum, downtown marketing and communication coordinator.
“Bands are traveling farther. Some beach music bands aren’t available because they are doing regular club nights now,” she said. “And when the farmer’s market came about on Wednesdays and Saturdays, we were stretching our staff from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. We did the plus and minus columns and the pluses for Thursdays outweighed the pluses for Wednesdays.”
Kellum also noted that series favorite Band of Oz was not going to be available this year.
Gig in the Park will run every other Thursday evening beginning April 18 through mid-June. The series is free and open to the public.
A variety of food trucks will again be parked on Douglas and South streets selling varieties of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Coastal Beverage will sell domestic beer and a small selection of craft beer. In order to purchase alcoholic beverages, you must first purchase a $1 wrist band from event staff. This charge helps offset the cost of the concert.
Seven or eight food trucks will be at each concert and include: Get A Pizza This, Krueger’s Hot Dogs, Everette’s Concessions, Emory’s Place, Lillie Mae’s Kitchen, SayYum, Taste of Texas, Skullies Street Q, and Chick-fil-A.
The Gig in the Park Concert Series is sponsored Wilson Downtown Development Corporation and the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park along with community and corporate sponsors.
More information is available at www.HistoricDowntownWilson.com/events.
April 18: The Embers featuring Craig Woolard (beach music)
May 2: Songs from the Road Band (Americana, bluegrass and classic country)
May 16: The Connells (guitar-oriented, melodic, Southern-style rock music)
May 30: Trial by Fire (Journey tribute band)
June 13: Heart Breaker (Heart tribute band)