Popularity of Concerts in the Village surpasses expectations

Special to The Log
Heritage performs a free concert from 7-9 p.m. March 26 in the Events Plaza at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, as part of the Wednesday night concert series. Call 267-8186.

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation's Concerts in the Village (formerly Concerts in the Park) is in full swing and attendance is up for the weekly concerts, which are held at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village each Thursday evening. With several weeks remaining, Concerts in the Village continues every Thursday at 7 p.m. through June and concludes with an "American Patriotic Tribute" concert finale on July 3.

"With an 18 year history, the live outdoor concerts have always been popular. However, since opening the new Dugas Pavilion and expanded Village Green, our attendance each Thursday has continued to grow," said Marcia Hull, MKAF executive director. "We've enjoyed seeing our loyal fans as well as many new faces each week. The live music, dancing and friendly crowd of all ages makes it a celebration of music and culture like no other along the coast."

The newly-enhanced concert venue at the Cultural Arts Village rests on 6.76 acres of green space, and is complemented by a new permanent stage, expanded Village Green, restroom facility and 168 on-site grass parking spaces. The landmark for the Cultural Arts Village is a commanding 22-foot metal sculpture designed by Frank Ledbetter.

Concerts in the Village continues with a mix of local musicians as well as regional touring artists, featuring diverse genres of music suitable for all ages. On June 20, the popular local band Heritage will bring good vibes to the Cultural Arts Village with their Hawaiian, pop and reggae style music. On June 27, a tribute to the Eagles by the Alter Eagles will feature Eagles classics, including Desperado, Hotel California, and Witchy Woman, among many others. The Alter Eagles master the intricate instrumental arrangements and unmistakable guitar riffs that make the Eagles music as powerful today as they have been for decades.

Enhancing the Emerald Coast's Independence Day celebrations, Concerts in the Village will feature "Let Freedom Ring" by David Seering at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, celebrating the nation's independence and honoring the active and retired men and women of the military, the special patriotic tribute will feature the spirit of Americana music from a variety of composers and musicians.

Local restaurants, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, alternate weekly serving fresh, affordable cuisine prepared on-site. Concert fans are welcome to bring their own picnic and wine or beverage of choice. Bottled water and soft drinks are available to purchase on-site with proceeds benefiting the MKAF's cultural and education mission. Admission is $8 per adult and $15 per couple, and children under 12 and MKAF members are free. Visit www.MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org or call 850-650-2226.