Jones House concert to feature longtime favorites
Locals and tourists have found their way in lawn chairs and on picnic blankets each summer Friday to embrace the heat and Boone's musical heritage.
Once co-sponsored by the Watauga Arts Council, this year will be the first year that the music is brought to the lawn by the town of Boone and the Jones House.
It was Cherry Johnson and Diane Hackworth who saw the need for more local music in Boone. While there were talented artists in the area, it always seemed as if they were having to leave the area to perform.
“The community already had numerous opportunities for visual artists,” said Hackworth, “Performing opportunities were slimmer. There were some opportunities in restaurants for musicians. There were some opportunities to hear performers brought in from off the mountain, but not many for the local musicians.”
It was a brainstorming session that brought the two women to the conclusion that the Jones House should bring music to the community
The first year of performances brought a new color to the culture of Boone. “There was such enthusiasm, from musicians, listeners, and sponsors. Over the years, this seems to have increased many times over. The first year, we were ecstatic when we broke 50 in attendance. Now, it's normal to have the yard packed and overflowing,” Hackworth said.
This Friday will feature favorites that have played on the lawn for years as celebration of the 20th year of free concerts at the Jones House.
Hackworth will bring her storytelling to the fold along with the band, Amantha Mills, a folk and bluegrass act.
Steve and Ruth Smith have also joined the lineup bringing their Americana sound, while featuring Ruth on the hammered dulcimer. “We call ourselves Appalachian heritage music because it's about the culture and your family and your faith,” said Steve Smith.
The Smiths have played free concerts at the Jones House for around 10 years now, while Hackworth and Becca Eggers-Gryder, a member of Amantha Mills, have been a part of the concerts since their conception.
This Friday will celebrate the years of free music that the area has come to celebrate, which was the purpose behind the concerts. “I wanted it to be a celebration of the musicians of the area — Watauga County and surrounding counties. And I wanted the people who lived here and who visited here to experience a feel of community, gathering to hear our own talent,” Hackworth said.
According to Steve Smith, “The concerts make it a real social get-together, which is really what music in the mountains is all about.”
Concerts at the Jones House take place in downtown Boone at 604 W. King St. every Friday from June through September. The free concert starts at 5 p.m., and patrons are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit in on the lawn.
The 2012 Concert series is sponsored by MPrints, Stickboy Bread/Melanie's, Footsloggers, Mast General Store and the Downtown Boone Development Association.
For a complete schedule, visit http://www.boone-nc.org or call (828) 262-4576 for more information.