The right tune

Published 5:30 pm Sunday, April 13, 2008

By Staff
A new season of Music in the Streets begins Friday, bringing with it opportunities for area musicians to perform at a grassroots level, area residents to enjoy free entertainment and out-of-town visitors to see what Washington has to offer.
Music in the Streets, which has become one of Washington’s signature downtown events, begins its sixth season Friday. That sixth season is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of several people during those six years, with some of the supporting cast changing and the remainder of that supporting cast remaining the same.
Music in the Streets is a collaborative effort of the Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association, the Beaufort County Arts Council and the City of Washington. Members merchants’ group, representatives of the arts organization and city employees develop plans for each season of Music in the Streets and carry out those plans to bring a quality, family oriented presentation to downtown Washington the third Friday of each month from April through September.
They also do the same thing for the fourth Friday in October, when Music in the Streets serves as the prelude to Smoke on the Water. Without their behind-the-scenes work, Music in the Streets probably would not happen.
Music in the Streets wouldn’t be the huge attraction that it is if it were not for the musicians and entertainers who perform at the street festival. Of course, they’ll accept tips, but they play because they enjoy playing, especially for appreciative audiences.
The organizers and musicians play a key role in bringing thousands of people downtown. That’s good for downtown shops and restaurants. This season, there’s going to be something different for Music in the Streets crowds to see — a Turnage Theater doing business. The newly rehabilitated theater reopened just several days after the final Music in the Streets installment in 2007.
Hopefully, some people in the Music in the Streets crowds this year will see the refurbished Turnage Theater and decide to buy tickets to performances there. It’s possible someone visiting Music in the Streets this Friday could end up buying tickets to the Richie Havens performance scheduled for that evening.
Not only is Music in the Streets good for artistic and economic reasons, it’s a great way to socialize. Since it began in 2003, Music in the Streets has provided a venue for people to meet with old friends, make new friends and spend quality time with those friends. Festival-goers stand on sidewalks, street corners or in the middle of a street and talk about their growing families, vacations taken or planned and the latest happenings at their jobs.
For Music in the Streets organizers, nothing would make them happier than to see huge crowds at this season’s performances. For without those crowds showing up, the organizers’ efforts would go for naught.
By doing their best to present the best Music in the Streets season possible this year, festival organizers are giving something back to the community in which they live. They want to see lots of smiling faces downtown this season. By attending Music in the Streets events this season, the festival-goers will help put smiles on the faces of Music in the Streets organizers — and themselves.
The organizers realize that it’s the community that makes Music in the Streets a success. And the reason Music in the Streets is a success is because it belongs to the community.