Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bluegrass at Patriot Park

Last night, we went to the inaugural concert at Spotsylvania’s sprawling new Patriot Park, behind the YMCA. This is what a bond referendum of a few years’ back got us Spotsy taxpayers: a 130+ acre park with 12 athletic fields, 2 basketball courts, over 3 miles of walking trails, and an amphitheatre in a natural setting that is a great venue for concerts. No complaints here—it’s a terrific facility. And they even used environmentally sound practices to recycle stormwater runoff to irrigate the fields.

We heard about the concert just this week, when I happened to come across the new local bluegrass station, “Bluegrass FM” (89.5) while cruising the radio dial. Non-commercial radio, with all bluegrass all the time, 24-7. How great is that, and how come it took me so long to find it? They had been advertising the concert regularly throughout the week, and I wasn’t sure whether to expect a turnout of Woodstockian proportions, or something like last weekend’s concert at UMW as part of the Marathon festivities (in case you weren’t there, hardly anyone else was, either). The amphitheater has bleacher-style benches to seat 200, and then a grassy hill that can accommodate 1500. The turnout was very respectable, and hopefully the concert offerings in the venue will just keep growing.

So following one of the lamest ribbon cutting ceremonies I’ve ever seen (the ribbon wasn’t attached to anything...a staffer handed out scissors to the local politicians and then with another staffer, they stretched a length of ribbon off a spool like it was a jump rope, and all the county leaders snipped a piece of it), and some touching memorial dedications of athletic fields to local fallen soldiers, the bluegrass concert kicked off. The opening act was Sonrise, a great bluegrass gospel quartet, with fine musicians and tight harmonies. The main act was an “All-Star Bluegrass Band” featuring members from an assortment of bands that I wasn’t very familiar with. That’s not saying much, since while my husband and I used to go to bluegrass festivals every summer in our younger days, we haven’t been following the scene as closely these days (still fans, though). The concert lasted about two hours, and was a real treat. The music was excellent, the weather perfect, the crowd lively, and the setting on the grassy field surrounded by trees was lovely. Spotsy Parks & Rec, you got it just right.

This concert was just the first of the “All American Concert Series.” Upcoming concerts include beach music on June 20, country music with the Crossroads Band on July 18, and Top 40 featuring Reck-n-Crew on August 15. I’m not a fan of beach, country or top 40 music, but if you are, check out this new venue. Tickets are only $5 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under.

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