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Music on the Green concert series underway

Nubble perform at Riverside Park on July 3 as part of the Music on the Green series. (Photo provided — Katrina Glynn)

SARANAC LAKE — The Music on the Green village-run concert series in Saranac Lake is underway, bringing local and global bands to the stage for weekly free concerts in Riverside Park.

This year’s lineup features fiddles, steel drums, horns and a DJ, as well as a bunch of local bands and the addition of visual artists.

The concert series is free to attend through sponsorships, grants and the support of the village of Saranac Lake. Shows take place every Wednesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m., July 3 through Aug. 14.

Laura Cunningham leads the volunteer committee and books the bands.

Cunningham said she tries to present different genres, never repeat bands and book different acts than other local venues get.

“Something for everyone,” she said.

The series kicked off in early July with local ulterior-folk band Nubble plucking, singing and sharing their songwriting with more than 200 people at the park.

With the warm weather in full swing, Cunningham said she loved seeing people pull up on kayaks, paddleboards and boats to listed to the tunes from the water.

Cunningham said she works to put local acts on the stage, booking four this year — Nubble, Frankie and the Moonlighters, Double Axel and The Beat Authority.

This year, Cunningham also said they’re bringing in visual artists to complement the music.

Local entertainer Sammy Yelle is bringing her collection of hula hoops and ribbons for dancing. She plans to teach kids how to use the tool of her trade. Local caricature artist Joe Ferris will be doing free portraits.

The goal is to cater to a diverse crowd of music lovers, Cunningham said. She loves to see teenagers getting out to dance and enjoy the music in recent years. All the while, she said kids attending with their parents are entertained by Yelle. She also looks forward to the retired people who religiously set up their lawn chairs at 6 p.m. to get good seats.

“How nice is it to have a community event that brings all walks of life together for the sole purpose of enjoying music?” Cunningham asked. “It’s a great vibe.”

On Wednesday, Frankie and the Moonlighters played rock ‘n’ roll from the ’50s and ’60s. Cunningham said the five-piece band played the North Country Community College end-of-year staff party recently and she loved their sound.

Glynn said she was looking forward to local rock ‘n’ roll band Double Axel. She hears they’re a “fan favorite” in the Tri-Lakes scene.

Cunningham said Dis-N-Dat on July 24 will bring in a new genre for Music on the Green with an mix of roots reggae, dance hall and R&B.

She said Waiting on Mongo on July 31, a seven-piece funk band will be a “great party.”

Personally, she’s excited for 5 Pound Horse on Aug. 7, because fiddle player Elizabeth Daunis is her close childhood friend from Massachusetts, whom she has not seen in more than 20 years.

She said Daunis has been a musician her whole life, and she is excited to see her friend bring fierce folk to her new home.

“They’re coming back from a European tour and they’re going to come to Saranac Lake,” Cunningham said.

To round out the series, North Country Public Radio’s DJ David Sommerstein will be spinning eclectic dance music from his popular Friday show The Beat Authority live on Aug. 14.

Echo from The Station in Onchiota will bring light and projection art to light up the trees in the park when it gets dark.

Cunningham said in the case of rain, the location will change to be at the Harrietstown Town Hall. The decision to move inside is made the day of the concert, she said, and is shared on the concert series’ page on the village website and on its Facebook page.

Music on the Green started in 2013, and has brought in more than 70 groups of artists to Saranac Lake since. Its goal has been to bring people downtown on weeknights to boost businesses and foster a vibrant community.

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