The Town of Wilkesboro announced a return of its free summer concert series a couple weeks ago, with a stellar five-event lineup that kicks off on May 8.
The good news doesn’t end there for fans of live music. Across the river, the Town of North Wilkesboro will host five more free concert events on third Saturdays in June through October.
The first concert at the downtown Yadkin Valley Marketplace on June 19 is a stunner. The headlining act is Scythian, one of the perennial fan favorites at MerleFest.
Scythian always brings a high-energy show and uniquely interacts with the audience for memorable live experiences. The band started out over 12 years ago playing Celtic music in the streets of Washington D.C. but has expanded its repertoire to include Americana, bluegrass, country, folk and world music.
Opening at 6 p.m. for Scythian is Brother Oliver, two brothers from Greenville, S.C., who play psychedelic folk rock and have opened for big acts that include the Steve Miller Band. The band is coming out of gig retirement to play in North Wilkesboro, according to their social media posts.
On July 17, beach music will emanate from the Window World Stage, as the Embers with Craig Woolard return with tunes that will get the audience on its feet and shagging. The band was formed in 1958 and are road warriors, having already booked 10 shows in April and May.
The sandy beach vibe continues on Aug. 21 with a show headlined by a Beach Boys tribute band called “Sail On.” For many aficionados, the iconic hits of the Beach Boys truly epitomize feel-good summer music.
The Aug. 21 event will be opened by the Smokin’ Joe Randolph Band, an outfit led by local rock-blues guitarist Joe Bumgarner. If you’ve ever caught one of his live shows, you know that Joe can really bend a six-string.
On Sept. 25, top billing goes to rising country artist Alex Hall, a native of Gainesville, Ga. Hall’s debut EP released in February, “Six Strings,” features collaborations with Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Kassi Ashton, among others.
Opening for Hall will be country singer Chelsea Sorrell, who was a top 24 contestant on the 11th season of “American Idol,” and her band Runaway Train. Sorrell was born and raised in Guilford County town of Stokesdale.
It pleases me to see that North Wilkesboro rebooked the eclectic duo of the Grassabillies and the Elovaters for Oct. 16. They were set to play in June last year before COVID-19 canceled the entire concert series.
The Grassabillies are a three-piece, high energy Americana and bluegrass band from the western part of the state that has played in North Wilkesboro at least a couple times.
The Elovaters, a reggae band from Boston, Mass., released an EP last year, “Double Vision,” that was their second collaboration with A-list producer Danny Kalb. The band’s sophomore album, “Defy Gravity,” debuted at #1 on the Billboard and iTunes reggae charts in 2018.
The summer shows will be staged rain or shine, and the June and July shows may employ a (still free) ticketed procedure that allows the town to control the crowd size based on current statewide COVID-19 restrictions.
Between the Wilkesboro shows on second Saturdays and North Wilkesboro’s on the thirds, there’s every reason to be excited about the return of diversified summertime sounds to the towns.