By Sidhartha Wakade
The Summer Concert Series kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at the gazebo in the Rutledge, Georgia Town Park.
The series lasts from June to August, with acts playing every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free to attend. The first day’s act will be Caroline Aiken, a Blues musician. Otis Redding III will be performing on August 23.
Music has been a central part of Rutledge even before the concert series began, according to Terry Reeves, the owner and founder of Music Matters Entertainment. Reeves began booking acts for the Summer Concert Series in 2014.
“There used to be a sign hanging at the gazebo in Rutledge, and it would say ‘music on Friday nights,’” Reeves said. “It started out as just people coming and doing a little Pickin’ in the Park.”
As the years went on, the focus shifted to booking actual bands to play at the park, Reeves explained. More acts were added each year, until the concert series as it is today was formed. Now the concert draws local artists as well as regional acts.
The concert series has grown enough in recent years that Rutledge is becoming known for it, Reeves explained.
“There’s not a lot going on in Rutledge because it’s such a small town,” she said. “This has grown to be the focal point of our community.”
Local support for the event is strong. The concerts draw many regulars, according to Reeves.
“We have people who come every single week, and they wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “This is something people look forward to all year.”
Reeves also thinks that the concerts are not only a good way to bring visitors to the town, but they also help bring the local community closer.
“It is such a great opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other,” she said. “People who would never get together outside the concert series see each other every week.”
Reeves expects anywhere from 100-400 people to show up every night, depending on the act. The turnout is always solid, but the music and the community is the focus.
“It absolutely brings the community together,” she said.