Communities Present Summer Music Events
Music on Main happens in Denison every Friday this summer. OPPOSITE: Ally Venable performs to the delight of these little girls and the crowd at Denison’s Music on Main. Venable often performs in her hometown of Kilgore as well. Courtesy photos Music fills the downtown streets of Rockwall every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in San Jacinta Plaza, a public space with cafe-style chairs, food, and beverages. Courtesy photo
Dude! You missed Coachella again? The tickets went on sale in January. Sure was pricey this year — $429 to get in the gate and $999 to hang with the swells. No wonder you weren’t there. Oh well, you weren’t going to get close to Beyoncé anyway.
Take heart, there are music acts all over the state of Texas this summer, many of them free. You can even bring your own chair, or blanket, and an ice chest of your favorite beverages. This is the inexpensive way to spend a summer’s evening and you won’t have to elbow your way through a crowd of paparazzi.
Many local concert series are efforts of the Texas Main Street program and are in effect across the state. Some in the Northeast Texas area such as the one in Allen have been going on for decades; others, are in their infancy.
The focus of the Main Street program is to revitalize the historic downtown area by emphasizing it as a gathering place for the community. “As a result, music [events] have a strong potential to create economic impact and support for Shop Local initiatives,” says Debra Drescher, state coordinator of the Texas Main Street Program which is under the auspices of the Texas Historical Commission. “Historic Main Street downtowns are a perfect venue for music events; there’s nothing like listening to your favorite music under the stars against the backdrop of historic buildings.”
Here are a few community summer music series this year in the Upper East Side of Texas.
The City of Allen believes in kicking off the week with some good family fun on Monday evenings in June with their free Summer Sounds Concert Series at the Joe Farmer Recreation Center. A variety of music genres includes classical, country, and contemporary pop with these shows: June 4, Spazmatics, 80s music; June 11, Memory Trip, a Journey tribute band; June 18, Kylee Rutland & Tanner Fenoglio, country and western: June 25, Moving Colors, a local band that plays a variety of music.
Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Free In-N-Out burgers are given to the first 1,000 visitors June 4, 18 and 25. To avoid the crowd guests can also bring their own picnic and beverages. Italian ices and cold beverages are sold. Blankets or low folding chairs are recommended.
Call 214.509.4100 for more information and visit www.cityofallen.org/1017/Summer-Sounds.
The Texan: A Landmark Venue is kicking off a summer season of music May 25 in conjunction with the famed Old Fiddlers Contest and Reunion, now in its 87th year. Bill Kirchen & Redd Volkaert, The Western Flyers, and Jake Penrod are on hand to introduce the newly remodeled venue with a free indoor variety-show style concert where guests can bring family and friends to enjoy the bluegrass and western swing. Following the May 25 show, the Texan kicks off their second annual Texan Summer Concert Series on June 23 with an indoor Texan benefit show featuring local musicians followed by the Texan’s Grand Opening on July 3 with a free outdoor concert featuring country music recording artist Darryl Worley. For this Independence Day celebration, folks are invited to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the show under a star-filled sky. The final show of the summer concert series takes place inside The Texan on July 21 with Texas Country artist Hayes Carll.
On site food and beverages are provided at each concert. Parking is available behind the theater and on city streets. Call 903.675.5131 and go to thetexanathens.com for more information.
Denison Music Series presents Music on Main every Friday from May 25 through July 27. The free concerts take place downtown in Heritage Park in a relaxed lawn setting.
Denison’s lineup is one of the best around with The Texoma Gospel Saints and Billie Jo Sewell kicking things off on May 25. Then on June 1 Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown take the stage with Sons of Fannin. Bryant was born in Honey Grove near Bonham. He bought his first guitar from Hollybond’s Music Store in Paris, Texas. He’s toured and opened for Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, B.B. King, Pat Benatar, Heart, Guns N’ Roses and more. He and the band make this Denison stop after touring all over the U.S. and after this show they head to Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, and Sweden before returning to the states again in October.
Other outstanding performers taking the stage at Music on Main include Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience with Jim Stewart June 8, Josh Weathers with Jared Mitchell Band June 15, Texas favorite Max Stalling on June 22 with Travis Parker, Jack Ingram with Greg Guymon on June 29, Black Dirt Playboys with Bailey Wesberry on July 6,
Sisters Morales with Jason Elmore July 13, Two Tons of Steel with Mark Shelton July 20, and Shenandoah featuring Marty Raybon with Chris Colston July 27.
Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Park, 324 W. Main in downtown Denison. Lawn seating so bring blankets or chairs. Plenty of parking along Chestnut St. Restaurants in the area are open, and there are food trucks. Wine, BBQ, and shaved ice vendors are in the park area. Visit denisonlive.com or call 903.464.4452.
The City of Forney holds free Concerts in the Park Thursday nights at the Spellman Amphitheater with a variety of music genres including cover and party bands. The schedule includes May 10, Escape, a Journey tribute band; May 17, Live 80, 80s party music; May 24, Guns 4 Roses, a Guns N’ Roses tribute band; June 7, All Funk Radio, old school R&B, MoTown party band; June 14, Desperado, Eagles tribute band; and June 21, Big City Outlaws, Country Rock band. Also in the park June 1 and 2, Jack Ingram headlines the 2018 BBQ cook off. Concerts begin at 8 p.m., with gates opening an hour earlier. Call 972.564.7329 and visit www.cityofforney.org.
Kilgore’s Fridays After 5 includes concerts the first Friday of the month through the summer, except July. The outdoor concert series features a live band, food vendors, and market stalls under gigantic oil derricks in the World’s Richest Acre on Commerce Street from 7-10 p.m. These events are family friendly and free. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. They kicked off in April with Harvest Moon CountryGrass and the remaining schedule is on www.kilgoremainstreet.com or call 903.988.4117.
Longview Main Street presents Downtown Live Fridays in May and again in September and October in Heritage Plaza. Check them out this summer for local talent, food trucks, and cold beer. See The Tuxedo Cats May 4, Lee Mathis & The Brutally Handsome May 11, Sweet Pain Rocks May 18, and Out on Bail May 25. On Saturday May 26 is Downtown Live Double Shot featuring the Big Pines Blues Youth Showcase and a concert by Buddy Flett and Bluesbeat. For more information go to www.visitlongviewtexas.com or call 903.239.5538.
The central square in Marshall hosts festivities all day long the second Saturday of each month May through November with vendors in the morning, a car show in the afternoon, and musicians in the evening. Concerts, which are booked a few weeks in advance, begin around 8:15 p.m. in Telegraph Park, 100 N. Washington St., and conclude at 10:30 p.m. or thereabouts.
There are a few benches but organizers suggest visitors bring chairs and blankets. Ice chests are welcome and there are several establishments around the square that sell food and beverages. There is plenty of downtown parking within a block of the Telegraph Stage. For more information call 903.702.777 and visit www.marshalltexas.net.
Mount Pleasant downtown merchants and organizations created a wonderful gathering space in a once deserted back alley. The Alley on Third, 107 West Third, is now an outdoor music venue with table seating in a relaxing atmosphere. They feature local and touring musicians every Thursday night in May and June as well as in August, September, and October. Upcoming performers include Riley Redding, Charlie J. Memphis, Katie Rai, Heather Harper, and more. Shows start at 7 p.m. Guests can BYOB and restaurants are within walking distance. Call 903.575.4000, www.facebook.com/MainStreetMountPleasant.
Mount Vernon Main Street presents music every second Saturday of the month during their farmers’ market on the downtown plaza. Music begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m. There is no cover charge but tips are welcome. Food and beverages are sold on site but visitors are welcome to bring their own, although alcohol is not allowed. Limited seating is available so bringing chairs is advised. Parking is available around the plaza square and in lots to the west and south. The music lineup includes Hudson Northcutt on May 12, Terry Casburn June 9, Brandon Bamburg July 14, Matthew Tuttle August 11, and Birthright Blues Project September 8. For more information call 903.537.4070 and visiting www.MountVernonTxFarmersMarket.com.
Rockwall: The Harbor
With the relaxing view of Lake Ray Hubbard in the background and the beautiful gardens and fountains at The Harbor complex in Rockwall comes an eclectic line up of live music every Thursday night May 3 through July 26 in the free Concert By the Lake series.
The schedule includes May 3, Downtown Fever Band, variety; May 10, Hannah Kirby, blues; May 17, Ashmore, rock; May 23, Inside Out, pop (Memorial Day event precedes concert at 6:30 p.m.); May 31, Memphis Soul, Mo’Town; June 7, LimeLight, pop; June 14, Metal Shop, 80s rock; June 21, King George Band, George Strait Tribute; June 28, Infinite Journey, Journey tribute band; July 5, Southern Ride, Nashville country; July 12, Professor D, dance/variety; July 19, Party Machine, dance/variety July 26, Back in Black, AC/DC tribute.
Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. at The Harbor, 2059 Summer Lee. For more information go to www.playrockwall.com or call 972.771.7740.
Downtown Rockwall has free live music in San Jacinto Plaza between Rusk and Washington streets on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer and into early fall.
Coolers and chairs are permitted, but seating is on brick pavers so blankets aren’t recommended. There are some tables and chairs available but they fill up quickly.
A hefty selection of their shows featuring local talent in a variety of genres includes May 3, Scotty Isaacs; May 4, Colin Boyd Band; May 11, Water Sign; May 12, TJ Chesshire; May 17, Mark Midland Hughes; May 18, Ryan Berg; May 24, Justin Tipton; May 25, Cocobolo Wind; May 26, Paul Harrington Band; May 31, Dalene Richelle; June 1, Erick Wayne & Jimmy K. Acoustic Duo; June 2, Woody Eastman; June 7, Scotty Isaacs; June 8, Water Sign; June 9, TJ Chesshire; June 14, Clint Sherman Solo; June 15, Ryan Berg; June 16, Foxwell; June 21, Mark Midland Hughes; June 22, Cocobolo Wind; June 23, Justin Pickard Duo; June 28, Justin Tipton; June 20, Stephen K. Morris; June 30, Shannie; July 5, Scotty Isaacs; July 6, Clint Sherman and Ashley Howell Duo; July 7, Robin Carrington; July 13, Water Sign; July 14, TJ Chesshire; July 19, Mark Midland Hughes; July 20 Ryan Berg; July 26, Jake & Natalie; July 27, RE-Mix; July 28, Justin Pickard Duo; August 2, Mark Franks; August 3, Devin Leigh; August 10, Water Sign; August 11, TJ Chesshire; August 17, Ryan Berg; and August 30, Watusi. Call 972.771.7700 and visit www.rockwall.com/mainstreet for updated information.
The City of Sherman presents the concert series Hot Summer Nights every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. in June and July except for the week of July 5. That concert takes place instead July 3 at Lights on the Lake in conjunction with their Independence Day Celebration in Pecan Grove Park. The regular Thursday night events take place in Kidd-Key Park, 405 N. Rusk Street. Guests can bring chairs or blankets. Food and drink vendors are onsite. For more information call 903.892.7230 and visit www.shermantx.org.
Free summer concerts take place on the Sulphur Springs downtown plaza throughout the season in conjunction with Celebration Market (farmers’ market plus) including One Fret Off on June 9, Nevermind on June 23, Matt Dunn and the Runaways July 14, Kade Trentham July 21, Dubb Williams and the Luv Machines August 11, Tyler and the Tribe August 18, and Jacoby Smith & The Moonlight Twang September 15. Guests are invited to bring chairs and blankets. Picnics are welcome, but no alcohol on the plaza. Food vendors are onsite and local restaurants are within walking distance with full menus and bars. Call 903.885.7541 and visit sulphurspringstx.org for more information.
Mondays in many small towns can feel a bit deserted but on Winnsboro’s Market Street every third Monday in May and June it’s a party. Monday Night Live features live music, food, wine, and more from 5-8 p.m. Monday Night Live continues September-November as well. Visit Winnsboro Texas’ Facebook page for an up-to-date performance schedule. Call 903.335.1410 for more information.