In its sixth year, Garner’s outdoor concert series is getting more local.
Music off Main kicks off May 9 with country singer and Garner native Amanda Daughtry, and she’s not alone: Four of five acts this year have Garner origins, and the fifth hails from the Triangle.
“We took a different approach this year,” said John Hodges, executive director of the Garner Revitalization Association. “We’re trying to feature some local bands.”
Hodges said staying local fed into the town’s goal of growing its local arts economy. As with the Garner Performing Arts Center’s theater efforts, the goal is to see Music off Main foster and provide performance opportunities for local talent.
In addition to shopping local, Hodges aimed to include a variety of genres and to choose bands accustomed to playing for people with broad tastes.
Other Garner-based acts this summer include rock/reggae outfit MikeMickXer on June 6, Motown/R&B group The Band Heartbeat on June 20 and dance/Top 40 group Honey on Aug. 15.
“We were always getting leads from people,” Hodges said. “These bands were recommended by people who had attended our concerts before. People would come up to us after a concert saying, ‘You should check out so and so, you should see them play.’ ”
Raleigh-based Southern roots music band Old Habits will close out the series Sept. 19. The bluegrass band’s performance purposefully comes less than a week before the International Bluegrass Music Association holds its World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh for the first time. The 24th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards will be held on Sept. 26, the third day of the five-day festival.
This marks the third year Music off Main concerts will be held in the grassy area behind the Garner Performing Arts Center rather than on Main Street. Last year as part of the concert series, local artists sold their works in what was dubbed Art off Main. This year it will be known as Market off Main, with local businesses joining the artists.
The concerts – all on Thursdays – will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and admission is free. Hodges said the event relies on volunteers to set up, tear down and take tickets. Along with volunteers, the downtown association, the Town of Garner and local businesses make the concert series possible. Volunteers can visit the GRA website and either email the GRA or send in a volunteer application.
Daughtry, the first act of the season, lives in Nashville, where she is working on her singing career. Her style ranges from country to classic rock to pop. She has opened for country acts like Chris Young and Justin Moore.