Music in the Valle series begins May 24
by Anna Oakes
It's time to break in those lawn chairs and blankets for a summer of free music in a beautiful park setting.
Music in the Valle returns for its 11th season Friday, May 24, at 7 p.m. at Valle Crucis Community Park.
Kicking off the season on the park's stage will be Back Porch Bluegrass. Admission to concerts is free, but a $5 donation to help support the park is suggested.
Valle Crucis Community Park, located on Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis along the Watauga River, is a private nonprofit organization.
"We are funded almost entirely by donations from the people who use the park," said Caroline Gandy, executive director. "The concert series has grown to be a hugely successful fundraiser for us and accounts for about 6 percent of our operating budget each year."
The concerts -- which began as a weekly jam session for local musicians -- now draw between 300 and 500 people each week, Gandy said.
The Friday evening concerts continue through Sept. 6, and each performance is sponsored by a local business or organization.
The sponsorships are used to pay the bands so that all audience donations can support the park -- from mowing the grass to keeping the restrooms stocked with supplies.
A volunteer walks through the crowd about halfway through each show to collect donations.
In cases of rain, Gandy said cancellations are only made if absolutely necessary and are announced on the park's Facebook page and phone message.
For more information, visit http://www.vallecrucispark.com/music-in-the-valle-2013 or call (828) 963-9239.