SARANAC LAKE - A summer of free music at Berkeley Green begins next Wednesday.
The summer concert series will feature different local musicians every week and encompass a variety of musical styles ranging from folk to jazz. It's a continuation of a series previously run by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
Village of Saranac Lake Community Development Director Jeremy Evans helped organize the event with village community development assistant Kelly Brunette and Joe Dockery, a local chiropractor and musician who has booked some concerts at Pendragon Theatre. Evans said the event is geared toward making the most of the area's abbreviated summer.
"It's about giving people cultural opportunities, but it's also about getting people downtown and enjoying everything that there is to offer," Evans said. "Berkeley Green is a great space. It's like a downtown living room."
Evans said music and art are key draws for getting people downtown. Once there, he said, people are likely to spend money in local businesses.
"We haven't reached our full potential yet, as far as I can see," Evans said. "The draw is, there is something different every week. We want to build this every year."
June 25: Cloud William, electric blues
July 2: Barn Cats, fiddle tunes and swing
July 9: Crackin' Foxy, vintage swing
July 16: Split Rock, classic rock
July 30: Roy Hurd, singer songwriter
August 6: ClassAct, jazz standards
August 13: Celia Evans, singer songwriter
August 20: Speedy Arnold, singer songwriter
Evans said the event's planners will begin reaching out earlier next year to get more sponsors. If successful, that could add additional nights of music and bigger names to next year's series.
"With the wealth of musicians and artists that we have here, we really do need an avenue where those people can express themselves," Dockery said. "This is certainly a venue that is waiting to be filled."
That venue is the stage at Berkeley Green.
"Berkeley Green is a gem that is underutilized," Dockery said. "It would be nice if, eventually, we could have a different event there every night of the week, Monday through Friday, throughout the summer. Hopefully with this regular series it will stimulate others to book that stage and have an event, anywhere from music to poetry readings, open mics and lectures."
This year's corporate sponsors for the series are Adirondack Health Institute, the Trudeau Institute and St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers.
Other sponsors for the series are Barracho Taco, Downhill Grill, North Country Community College, T.F. Finnigan, Weight Management Inc. and individuals Susan Nolde and David Filsinger.
To become a sponsor, contact Evans at 518-891-4150.