June 19--Owensboro is creating another free downtown music series in Smothers Park on Thursday and Saturday nights from July 6 through Oct. 12 to give aspiring area entertainers a chance to find an audience.
Friday night showcases will be added after Friday After 5 ends its season on Aug. 30.
"We have 20-plus dates for people to sign up to perform," Tim Ross, the city's events director, said Tuesday. "And we can add more if we see a need."
"Live on the Banks!" will give performers -- singers, dancers, musicians, bands, actors or other performers -- a chance to star on the River Overlook stage on the west side of the inlet waterfall.
Entertainers will be performing for the exposure, not for money.
But Mike Hobson, a musician who helps book acts for Friday After 5's Overlook and Courtyard stages, said exposure is very important to aspiring acts.
"You have to be seen before people will want to book you," he said. "I've played a lot of free shows, but now I'm getting paid."
Hobson is primarily a bluegrass musician, but he also plays country and Texas swing on occasion.
"I would hope area talent takes advantage of this," he said. "This will be a great place for them to be seen. The more music we can have downtown, the better it is. I think it sounds like a great idea."
"It's great news," said Rosemary Conder, chairwoman of We Are Downtown. "I think it's fantastic. Things like this help make downtown a destination."
Ross said only one act will be booked each night.
Hours are 7 to 9 p.m. in July and August and 6 to 8 p.m. in September and October.
"We've already had requests from people who want to perform," Ross said.
Acts interested in performing can register at www.owensboro.org/liveonthebanks.
Dates are limited, Ross said, and if more performers sign up than there are dates available, "there is no guarantee that you will be selected to perform."
Panhandling or selling merchandise in the park will not be allowed, he said.
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org
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