Music in the Streets is getting a makeover

Published 6:32 am Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Contributing Editor

Downtown Washington on the Waterfront has taken over organizing Music in the Streets, which enters its eighth season this year.
Marc Brunon, owner of Notes Cafe on North Market Street in downtown Washington, is serving as chairman of Music in the Streets this year. This year’s Music in the Streets events will be somewhat different than those in previous years, he said.
DWOW is trying to attract a wider range of musicians as it also solicits other entertainers to perform at Music in the Streets. DWOW also is seeking artists to work and showcase their artwork in the streets during Music in the Streets events.
“Music in the Streets is now a community arts event,” Brunon said.
To that end, entertainers such as magicians, jugglers, strolling minstrels and unicyclists are being recruited, Brunon said. Since the core of Music in the Streets is music, he said, the more varied the musicians, the more varied the appeal to festival-goers.
“We are seeking all musicians for the selection process,” Brunon said.
Each Music in the Streets event this year will feature a “focused act,” Brunon said. Also new this year is the MITS Alumni venue, where favorite acts from previous Music in the Streets years will be showcased, he said. The project is a joint effort involving Music in the Streets and the Turnage Theater, he said.
“We’re looking for lead acts,” Brunon said.
Music in the Streets had been organized by the Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association, which dissolved after the death of Gary Tomasulo, who served as its president for several years. Tomasulo died on Labor Day last year as the result of a fall from a building he owned.
With DWOW taking over the event, some changes are being made to the street festival that takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. the third Friday each month from April through September. It is held the fourth Friday in October as a lead-in event to Smoke on the Water, held the fourth Saturday in October. Among those changes is the decision to allow nonprofit organizations — in an effort to provide them fundraising opportunities — to sell food concessions during the event.
“We feel that food brings people out, and since the restaurants are all packed during the event, this shouldn’t cut into anyone’s business,” reads an e-mail the Daily News received from Beth Byrd, DWOW’s administrator.
Nonprofits also are being asked to participate in Music in the Streets by providing the public information about their programs, projects and services.
“My favorite new addition is to invite the local nonprofits to participate. We are asking that if they would like to use MITS to reach the community, that they do so by presenting an ‘interactive demonstration.’ This demonstration can be anything really, from face-painting to a bean-bag toss, but we encourage the organizations to showcase their ‘message’ by developing a demonstration that relates directly to their organization.” Byrd wrote in the e-mail.
The requirements and/or guidelines for participation by a nonprofit follow:
• There is a $10 fee for each date reserved. Spaces are limited and will be assigned at the discretion of the MITS committee.
• Each organization must provide an interactive demonstration. Preference is given to groups that are able to develop an interactive component that relates directly to their organization.
• Active solicitation and proselytizing are not permitted. Your information should be available for pick-up but not a deterrent to attendees.
• No sales, fundraisers or distribution of food or beverage may be conducted unless explicitly approved by the Music in the Streets committee.
• Each nonprofit is responsible for setting up and taking down its booth or tent. Set-up must be completed by 5:45 p.m. Before leaving, the organization is responsible to make sure its space is clear of any debris. Cleanup must be completed by 9:15 p.m.
• Canopies are allowed. All canopies must be secured to withstand winds. No stakes may be driven into the ground. Sand bags, cinderblocks or other weights are required. No tents with sides are allowed.
• Bring all your own display materials (chairs, tables and the like), tarps, and canopies. Booths are the sole responsibility of the organizations.
• Electricity is not available.
• Identification — please display your nonprofit’s name proudly.
• DWOW must receive applications at least one week prior the event.
This year’s Music in the Streets events take place April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 17 and Oct. 22.
Entertainers interested in performing during Music in the Streets events should contact Brunon at Notes Cafe, 143 N. Market St., or at 252-940-4688. Anyone interested in reserving a space (a 10-by-10 space), reserving a larger space or selling food at Music in the Streets should call Byrd at 252-946-3969.