Rain spares Spare Change, last Downtown Sounds

kjahner@newsobserver.comJuly 1, 2014 

— After a season with a new schedule and format that were marred by bad luck, Downtown Sounds finished on a high note.

About 400 people attended Garner’s downtown summer music series’ Spare Change concert Thursday after rain interfered with the previous two shows.

“We continue to enjoy providing this to folks so they have an opportunity to get out and experience the downtown area,” Garner Revitalization Association executive director John Hodges said. “This year it was just unfortunate because of the rain.”

Two weeks earlier, The Central Park Band’s concert was forced inside the GPAC when rain prevented them from setting up in time. And two weeks before that, the 40 East concert was canceled due to heavy rain.

That show won’t be rescheduled as part of Downtown Sounds, but the band will instead play at the town’s Firemans’ Day on Oct. 4.

This year’s Downtown Sounds tried a couple of different tactics, including a new name, to generate interest. In the past, the series stretched from spring into late summer or early fall. This year featured a condensed late spring to early summer schedule. Hodges said that both avoids the heat of the late summer months and helps keep the series fresh in people’s minds with less time between shows.

“I think everyone is still happy with the format of them being concentrated in April to June (despite the rain),” Hodges said.

The music also shifted gears. After an effort to feature bands with Garner connections and original music last year, this year featured top cover bands from around the area.

The first show, Soul Play, drew about 350 people, while The Central Park Band drew 200 after the move inside the GPAC. This year’s shows generally drew better than last year, Hodges said, although some bigger names from previous years have had bigger crowds.

Hodges said that on Thursday he heard from people who had never been to GPAC before, and another told him they had driven two hours to see Spare Changes, as they were big fans.

“It just reinforces that the reason we started doing this, to bring people downtown, is still worth us doing,” Hodges said.

 

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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