Outdoor music in the Wiregrass

The band Blackberry Breeze performs during FosterFest in March of 2018. Opportunities to listen to outdoor music is becoming more widespread in the Wiregrass.

Keep your lawn chairs and blankets handy this summer because you’ll have lots of opportunities to listen to music outdoors.

You can take your pick of a first Friday in downtown Dothan or the fourth Friday on the square in Headland or a Thursday evening under the stars at Landmark Park. There will even be some single musical events – a patriotic concert at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens and, of course, the annual end-of-summer Yard Party for Art.

The musical events are free to attend with the exception of Yard Party for Art, which is an annual fundraiser for the Wiregrass Museum of Art.

Foster Fest returns to downtown Dothan tonight and continues the first Friday of each month through October. The June 7 event features music by Lucky Town and Thomas Merritt on a South Foster Street stage and Glory Days on the North Foster Street stage. The street festival opens at 6 p.m.

On June 13, the annual concert series Music by Moonlight at Landmark Park will feature local Americana band Pontiac Stove Company at 7:30 p.m. On June 27, the Tri-State Community Orchestra will perform.

Music by Moonlight attendees are encouraged to pack a picnic supper and gather with their chairs and blankets around the park’s gazebo to listen to performances. Also, the park keeps the Martin Drugstore and Shelley General Store open to sell refreshments.

Headland has brought live music to its downtown square with the Under the Oaks concert series, which began in April and will continue on the fourth Friday of each month until September. The next concert, set for June 28 from 6-9 p.m., will be a patriotic concert by the Tri-State Community Orchestra. The music series will feature 225 Uptown Band on July 26, Heyword on Aug. 23 and Fire Dogs on Sept. 27.

Rhonda Harrison, executive director of the Headland Chamber of Commerce, said the concert series came out of a series of surveys conducted by the downtown revitalization group Heart of Headland.

“When we began the town meetings and did surveys of our people, one of the main things they said whenever we asked, ‘What do you want downtown that you don’t have now?’ it was a very loud, ‘We want music on a regular basis in the square,’” she said.

Attendees are welcome to bring food, but Harrison said two downtown restaurants remain open during the concerts and food vendors are on site selling food and beverages.

The setting among the large oaks in the town square is perfect for a laidback evening, and many residents who live nearby simply walk down to the square are even listen to the music from their own porches, Harrison said.

“We think that it just shows how our community enjoys being together,” she said. “We have this beautiful square which we’re so blessed to have … It’s just a way to use what we have for our people to come and enjoy. It’s very laidback. We don’t have a lot of activities for the kids – it’s just the music and the food.”

Also this summer, the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens will host a free concert by the 151st Army Band with the Alabama Army National Guard on Sunday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. Held in the Wedding Garden, the 36-member band will perform patriotic music. Prior to the concert, a “Meet the Musician” session will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Ricketts Hall with musicians playing their instruments and sharing stories of how they became musicians.

“We are excited the DABG was asked to host this concert,” garden director William Holman said in a press release. “I don’t think the Garden has ever hosted a concert like this before and I think folks will really enjoy the opportunity to listen to some wonderful music in the Garden.”

And to wrap the summer up on Aug. 10, the Wiregrass Museum of Art will host its outdoor music event Yard Party for Art. Advance general admission tickets for the annual fundraiser are $15 ($20 at the gate). The 2019 lineup includes Fulton Lee of Nashville, Love Moor from Birmingham, Carver of Nashville and Suaze of Birmingham.

For Yard Party, you must be 18 to attend and the museum has some special ticket packages that include T-shirts, museum tours and free beverages. Or, you can go for the VIP experience with a cooled tent near the stage.

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