News Column

Second Sunday draws happy crowd

June 9, 2014

By Jim Gaines, The Macon Telegraph

June 09--"How y'all feeling out there today?" AJ Ghent called out. "Y'all ready to have a good time?"

The crowd at the Second Sunday concert in Washington Park responded with a cheer to the frontman and steel guitarist for the AJ Ghent Band.

The drumbeat started up, followed by a bass line, as families sprawled on blankets or sat in folding chairs. Several hundred people filled the park, spilling up the hillside, for the latest concert in the long-running monthly summer series.

Carey Goodson, of Macon, came with his twin brother, Casey. It wasn't Carey Goodson's first show -- he's been coming to Second Sunday concerts since last summer, watching the crowd steadily grow, he said.

"It's a good way to meet new friends, see old ones," Goodson said.

And, of course, there's the music.

"I'm a big jazz listener," he said. "Anytime I can hear live jazz, I'm for it."

Goodson said it was good to see a big crowd decided to turn out despite the late-afternoon heat and chance of rain. He's glad the concert series has endured and hopes its success will spark similar events, he said.

"It's a great atmosphere, a great park for things like this, so I just hope they continue to do it," Goodson said.

Sunday's show featured the A.J. Ghent Band's first appearance in Macon, but the Atlanta group is booked to come back July 26 for the Bragg Jam Concert Crawl.

The concert runs from 6-8 p.m. Sunday and like other Second Sunday shows will include food and beverage vendors. The rain location for this show and the remaining concerts will be the Cox Capitol Theatre.

The Grapevine will play the July concert, and August will feature Same As It Ever Was, a Talking Heads cover band. The all-ages shows will continue through October.

The Second Sunday series started in 2008 with a small group of volunteers and is currently organized by the College Hill Alliance, but the Bragg Jam Festival recently announced it will take over with the help of a Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant.

On Sunday evening children splashed in the park's stream while some patrons lined up at food and beverage vendors. Locally made Macon Progress beer was available. Other attendees brought coolers full of food and drink.

Several people held onto leashed dogs, including Kevin Drace.

"It's his first time," he said, gripping the cord attached to Ro, a Rhodesian ridgeback.

Kevin Drace and his wife Wendi sat on a striped blanket halfway up the hillside.

The Draces said they've come to Second Sunday shows often this year, enjoying the music and the people."You've got to support downtown Macon," she said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.


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Source: Macon Telegraph (GA)

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