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Blue Sky series gets off to a swinging start

POSTED: May 18, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Ted Tuck, guitarist for King Daddy Polecats, performs Wednesday afternoon on the square in downtown Gainesville. The performance kicked off the annual Blue Sky concert series, which continues every Wednesday throughout May.

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The King Daddy Polecats had the square jumping at noon Wednesday for a rollicking kick off to the Blue Sky Concert series.

Young and old alike were tapping their toes to a blend of rockabilly and swing — with a little blues and honky tonk thrown in for good measure — pumped out by the King Daddy Polecats. Members of the three-piece band, based in Gainesville, are not strangers to the event. They played the Blue Sky series last spring and were scheduled to play again in October, but were rained out.

Ted Tuck, who plays guitar for the band, said the band enjoys playing the concert series.

"It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of people come out. It’s something really fun to do on Wednesdays. There’s a lot of good food and a lot of good people," Tuck said.

In addition to Tuck, who plays guitar, the Polecats are Mike Terrell on the drums and Jonathan Peek on the stand-up bass.

The band also plays regularly at several local restaurants.

The band was well-known to many in the crowd.

"Big fans!" said Stephanie Loggins of Gainesville.

"I come up here every time, and my friend, Stephanie, has been to see them several times," said Kathy Gibbs, who works just off the square in the Hunt Tower.

Gibbs, Loggins and Bertha Rundles, all of Gainesville, enjoyed the concert underneath one of the massive trees on the square.

The band also seemed to make some new fans, as many people came up to Tuck, Terrell and Peek after their one-hour performance to express their appreciation.

Tuck shrugged off the praise, though he did say that he enjoys having an audience get into the performance.

"You’ve gotta feed off your crowd. They give you as much energy as you try and give them," Tuck said. "It’s a very important factor to me, anyway."

Kathy Powell of Gainesville was a first-time visitor to the Blue Sky Concerts.

"I love sitting in the sunshine and seeing all the kids dance. And the music’s fun, so it’s a wonderful time," said Powell, who brought her daughter, Katie Powell, and a friend to the event.

Katie Powell, a student at Covenant College near Chattanooga, Tenn., said she enjoyed being back home for the summer and had fun at the concert.

Many children seemed to have fun, twirling around in the sun to the catchy music.

Carina Doyle, who lives two blocks off the square in Gainesville, was one of many mothers who brought her children to Wednesday’s concert. She and her family have been to many Blue Sky Concerts and other events in downtown.

"We live close by because we love that the square offers so much such as an experience like this. It’s great for me, and it’s great for the kids to be outside," Doyle said. "They love the music. They don’t want to sit still. They just want to move and enjoy the square."

The series is put on by Main Street Gainesville and several local sponsors, and many people are repeat visitors throughout both the spring and fall Blue Sky series.

"I love it. I think it’s such a good attribute, and I hope they continue to sponsor activities like this," Doyle said.

Gibbs also said she and her friends and family have been to many of the Blue Sky Concerts, both in the spring and fall.

"I wish they’d do it more often," Gibbs said.

The spring concert series continues throughout the month with a different performer taking over the square from noon to 1 p.m. every Wednesday. Other acts scheduled to perform include: Gainesville State Brass Ensemble, May 14; Brent Lee & Freedom, May 21; and Windjammers, May 28.

Blue Sky concerts also are held every Wednesday in October.



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