Squaring Off

Annual Music Series Starts 24th Season June 13

Posted: June 5, 2014

Daily News-Record

Ian Richard (right) and Lauren Philp take in the summer evening on Court Square on June 17, 2011, before a screening of “Smokey and the Bandit,” during Fridays on the Square. (Photo by Traci White / DN-R, File)
The Steel Wheels, an Americana roots group, perform June 20, 2008, during Fridays on the Square. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R, File)

Given it’s 24-year run, summers in downtown Harrisonburg just wouldn’t be the same without Fridays on the Square.

The free weekly outdoor concert series will kick off June 13 with Charlottesville-based acoustic folk group Michael Clem Trio performing.

Local grassroots organization Citizens For Downtown formed about 25 years ago to bring attention and support to downtown revitalization, said Kathleen Kraft, owner of Laughing Dog T-Shirts and Gifts and organizer of Fridays on the Square.

The annual family-friendly concert series is one of the efforts still remaining from that group’s brainstorming.

Though the format has changed over the years, the idea has remained the same: To bring the community together downtown.

“There’s a lot to celebrate now that we really have seen …  revitalization,” Kraft said.

She encourages event-goers to come before the music starts at 7 p.m. and picnic on the courthouse lawn or just stop by on the way out downtown.

A concert takes place every other Friday from mid-June through mid-August at Court Square, with the rain location being Turner Pavilion, located at 228 S. Liberty St.

This year’s Performers include electric blues musician Tom Principato on June 27; soul, funk and R&B artists Everyday People on July 11; folk rock band Mercy Creek on July 25; progressive bluegrass artists Many Nights Ahead on Aug. 8, and alternative Americana musicians Bryan Elijah Smith & The Wild Hearts on August 22.

The series is completely funded through the donations of local businesses and individuals, Kraft said, and attendance is as high as it’s ever been, with people often filling out Court Square.

“We’re just really happy that we managed to make this happen every year,” she added.

For more information, visit fridaysonthesquare.com.

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or csipos@dnronline.com