Hendersonville’s premier outdoor concert series draws many from Buncombe County, including younger generations. It is monthly on the third Thursday, concluding in September. This is its third season. Each time there are two opening acts 5-7 p.m., starting with an acoustic singer-songwriter then building the energy level. Main acts are 7-9 p.m.
The site is on Main Street, between Allen and Caswell streets, by the Visitor’s Center. There are good-sized crowds, but not as frenetically jammed as some Asheville music series.
There are food and craft beer and wine vendors; hence the “Brews” part of the concert series’ name. Craft beer brewed by Henderson County’s Southern Appalachian Brewery and Sierra Nevada are among those available, along with wine of Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, hard cider from Bold Rock Cider, and Flat Rock Ciderworks.
Yet the city’s Downtown Economic Development Dir. Lew Holloway ensured there are also many family-friendly activities such as the HandsOn! Family Zone, and Pardee Hospital’s misting tent soothing when it heats up.
Bendula does earthy ballads, with James Taylor-like intensity. He often performs in Hendersonville night clubs. Bendula then Calvin Get Down lead off, on May 18.
Then the Get Right Band fires up the crowd. Guitarists Silas Durocher (the frontman) and Jesse Gentry and drummer Jian-Claude Mears play an energetic, danceable mix of rock, funk and reggae sounds with clever lyrics in their originals. The band recorded in Echo Mountain Studio, Asheville’s premier studio, for its latest CD that came out last August. Producer Julian Dreyer has worked with The Avett Bros. and Zac Brown Band. Durocher assisted him.
Next, on June 15, Major and the Monbacks are the main act. The Virginia six-piece ensemble features horns and rhythm sections, lacing Sixties-styled psychedelic rock with gritty Southern soul. Its new CD is due out this spring. Openers are noted singer-songwriters Izzi Hughes and Eric Congdon, and The Blue-Eyed Bettys.
Americana act Steel Wheels heads the bill July 20, with soulful roots mountain music. This four-piece string band is also from Virginia with a new CD coming soon. Openers are acoustic Rob Williams, then Angela Easterling & The Beguilers.
Exciting improvisational jam band Come Back Alice headlines on Aug. 17, with Southern gypsy funk with rock and funk strains. The band, influenced by the Allman Bros. and others, is led by newlyweds Tony Tyler and Dani Jaye. They play such instruments as slide guitar, violin, B3 organ and keyboards. Rock Kellogg kicks it off, followed by Hustle Souls.
The finale, on Sept. 21, brings a band from Nashville in Backup Planet with a fascinating progressive funk-rock original sound. It incorporates Seventies-styled progressive rock, electronic, funk, blues, metal, roots and jazz blends. Theme & Variation starts it off acoustically, with The Dirty Soul Revival leading up the Backup Planet.
For more on this and other downtown special events, check www.downtownhendersonville.org.