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Grab your lawn chair because The Arts Council’s Summer MusicFest Series is here
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The Arts Council new outdoor stage and pavilion is completed Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, and has already been the site for some weddings and is ready to host performances and fundraisers. The 6,300-square-foot stage and pavilion is a more than $1 million addition to the council’s Smithgall Arts Center property at the corner of West Academy Street and Spring Street Southwest off the Gainesville square. - photo by Scott Rogers

Rain or shine, The Arts Council is inviting families to grab a lawn chair and listen to live entertainment during its Summer MusicFest Series. 

“Especially now with coming through COVID, people are eager to be outside, and just be entertained and hear live music again,” Gladys Wyant, executive director of the council, said. “This is especially true this summer.”

Four concerts are left in the series, all of which take place at 8 p.m. at the The Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center’s Gladys Wyant Performing Arts Pavilion, which finished construction earlier this year. To kick off the Fourth of July, Wyant said the Northwinds Symphonic Band will perform its Patriotic Pops Concert, which entails a selection of songs that honor the U.S. and “the people dedicated to preserving its freedom.”

“This time in our lives, I think we need to have more patriotism and celebrate America,” she said. “And, that’s what this concert is about.”

The symphonic band is made of around 78 band directors —  both active and retired — music teachers, college students, professional musicians and others in the field. 

Wyant said the performance, led by Allen Beach, will include a combination of wind, brass and percussion instruments, as well as two local vocalists, Michelle Martin and Jonathan Jackson. She said the event will be dedicated to the late Lessie Smithgall, the first president of The Arts Council, and people can expect a surprise before and after the concert.

The Arts Council Summer MusicFest Series

Where: Gladys Wyant Performing Arts Pavilion, 331 Spring St. SW, Gainesville

  • 8 p.m. Saturday, July 3: Northwinds Symphonic Band, Patriotic Pops Concert
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17: The Highwaymen, tribute band to three country legends
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7: Riverstreet, local classic rock band
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21: Back in Time Band, local rock ‘n’ roll band

Tickets for Saturday’s event are $20 for adults, $15 for students, $18 for those 65 and up and $15 for veterans and their immediate family. People can also purchase an eight-person table for $240.

After the patriotic show, the next event on Saturday, July 17, will feature The Highwaymen. This group is a tribute band to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. The series also includes a performance from Riverstreet, a local classic rock band, on Saturday, Aug. 7, and a concert from the Bank in Time Band, a group that plays classic rock ‘n’ roll and modern music., on Saturday, Aug. 21. 

“Everybody has had a tough time during COVID. We wanted to support some of our local groups, as well as bring some from out of town,” Wyant said. 

The gates to the center will open at 6 p.m. before each event for people to nab a place on the lawn. 

Wyant recommends that attendees bring lawn chairs and an umbrella in case of rain. A truck from Tap It will be stationed at the concerts to serve wine, beer and soft drinks. People are welcome to bring their own food to the series’ events.

Tickets for each concert can be purchased on-site, via phone, at the Arts Council or online at For more information, visit the or call 770-534-2787. The Arts Council is located at 331 Spring St. SW in Gainesville