by Kate Shunney
Partnerships drive all community efforts, and the newest addition to Berkeley Springs’ summer music scene is no exception.
Morgan Arts Council, in partnership with Travel Berkeley Springs and local restaurant Charlotte’s Café, will kick off a new Friday Night Music concert series this Friday, June 23 at the Ice House arts center in Berkeley Springs.
The free music will be offered in addition to MAC’s successful Music in the Park series, which has been putting live music in Berkeley Springs State Park on Saturday afternoons for 32 years.
“Music in the Park is a family-friendly, fun event for everyone. The difference on Friday will be that we’ll have more of a party vibe, with food and drink and different music,” said MAC Executive Director Darren O’Neill.
Travel Berkeley Springs board member Jeff DuVal said a group of music-lovers tried to pick acts that would be diverse and not overlap the Saturday park concerts. The result is a lineup of funk, Motown and rock bands that will play on a new stage on the south end of the Ice House facing the sculpture garden and lawn, known as The Charlotte’s Café Garden Stage.
The public will enter the concert area through the Ice House theater entrance. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and music will start at 7 p.m.
Local restaurant Charlotte’s Café has sponsored the concert series and will offer a variety of foods for pre-order and on-site purchase.
Owner and head chef Ashley Mason said the Saturday Music in the Park concerts inspired the partnership to bring more music to the community on Friday nights.
“I saw the Saturday concert and said next year, we’re going to be a bigger part of it,” said Mason.
Her father John Mason said he wanted to support the new music stage and series for the sake of the community.
“We need to be more positive and show that everybody can get along and work together,” he said.
“We want to give back to the community,” Ashley Mason said.
Other partners in the Friday concert series are the Town of Bath, which is letting the Ice House close off select parking spots for event loading and unloading, and the Morgan County Public Library, which is lending their parking lot to MAC for performer parking and to host a food truck each week.
O’Neill said the mission of the Morgan Arts Council is to “Getting Art Out There.”
“We’re getting it out there and we just clicked into overdrive with this series,” he said.
“People will travel for live music and stay for music,” said DuVal. “it drives tourism and short-term rentals.”
MAC is supported by grants from the state, and adds to that with memberships and sponsorships for special events.
“We think it’s a sign the town is ready to put money behind new events and community offerings,” said O’Neill.
Event organizers hope the Friday concerts will draw in visitors early, give locals a free event to pull them downtown and be good for downtown businesses.
“What a way to kick off the weekend!” O’Neill said.
The first concert will feature local group “All Grassed Up.”
Organizers recommend the public their own (small) chairs to the venue. Parking is located in the blocks around the downtown area.
Visit the full schedule at https://macicehouse.org/MACMusic/.