5/23/2012 - New concert series looks to draw big crowds to French Broad River in Asheville
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE -- Look for some hot music and big crowds this summer on the French Broad River in a new Friday night concert series presented by the RiverLink organization and sponsored by New Belgium Brewing.
The new RiverMUSIC series will present five outdoor concerts at the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza, 144 Riverside Drive. With a stage just 20 feet from the river, it looks to capture some of the same vibe as the Downtown After 5 shows on Lexington Avenue -- only with waterfront flavor. The series is being funded through a grant from the Chaddick Foundation.
The concert site is currently being used by the Ariel Trapeze Academy classes.
The first show on June 29 features Brooklyn-based 10-piece band Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds with Asheville's Krektones and The Mad Tea (formerly the Mad Tea Party).
The concerts continue on July 13, Aug. 3 and 24 and Sept. 14. None of those dates directly compete with Downtown After 5 or Bele Chere.
The series could pull 800-1,000 people per concert, said RiverLink spokesman Dave Russell. "This is brand-new for us," he said.
"We feel like the more people who hang out at the river and appreciate it, the better that they will take care of it."
The concert series is the latest chapter along the evolving French Broad River in Asheville, which is already home to a hot arts district and such spots as 12 Bones Smokehouse barbecue and the Wedge Brewing Co.
The RiverMUSIC site is directly across the river from the future home of New Belgium Brewing's East Coast expansion brewery.
"We are all just waiting to see what will happen" with the concert series, said Wedge Brewing owner Tim Schaller, who expects to see some boost in business after each riverfront show.
Parking will be available near the concert site, but RiverLink is encouraging visitors to come by foot, bike or even paddle down the river and land at Jean Webb Park or the concert site.
No alcohol may be brought to the concerts, but New Belgium will sell beer, and wine and food will also be available.