First Saturday monthly music event eyed for spring 2015

By spring, there will be another festivity in Salisbury’s ever-flourishing downtown, free concerts at First Saturday, now being planned.

“We hope to start the first Saturday in April,” said Sarah Rayne, who’s co-chairing the function, which is an extension of Third Friday, with her husband, Ben.

“We have been voted in as an Arts Entertainment District Committee event. We want to create another monthly event for Salisbury’s downtown to bring people together to spur the economy and growth. We want to showcase businesses,” said Rayne.

She will be asking restaurants to partner with First Saturday and offer carry-out specials so attendees can enjoy dinner and an outdoor show, she said.

Organizers are looking for a sponsor to provide free bottled water, maybe with the business logo on the label.

Shows will be on the stage used for the New Year’s Eve celebration, on North Division Street between Main and Route 50.

City officials have agreed to allow them to block off a section between Route 50 and Main Street, although Main Street will be passable.

Free performances will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at the BYOC event, meaning “bring your own chair.”

Alcoholic beverages won’t be allowed, at least not at first, but Rayne said the possibility will be explored eventually.

“Our next step is to get sponsors to fund the event — businesses, organizations and families,” she said, explaining levels are gold, $1,000; silver, $500; and bronze, $100. Gold sponsors can name the stage for the day and have signage and advertising.

The idea, she said, was conceived during conversations among Rayne, Sarah Halcott, who owns Amused Studios, and Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council.

Rayne said she was impressed with the success of a Georgetown, Del., weekly concert series when she worked for a newspaper in Sussex County.

“The idea was to encourage people to gather in an area that is there, but is underutilized,” she said.

In Georgetown, sponsorships were so successful, there was enough money to build a stage.

Already, evolving First Saturday has the support of local residents. Rayne said within 24 hours, 400 people liked the new Facebook page.

Local bands will be paid to play and Halcott is working on an arts market to be open during shows, with maybe 10 artists, on a smaller scale than Third Friday.

“We have an awesome group of people working on this. It may evolve to include other types of performing arts like belly dancers or clowns or mimes. We’re going to invite some organizations like the Salisbury Zoo to come and set up a tables,” Rayne said.

“After the shows, we want people to stay downtown. You can be 2 years old, you can be 90 years old and enjoy it,” Rayne said. “We’re excited about it.”

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