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Shindig on the Green, one of Asheville’s dearest and most reliable mountain music get-togethers in the summer months, is back for another season. As it has since 1966, Shindig on the Green will be at City-County Plaza at 7 PM each Saturday night through September 3, with the exception of July 30 (Bele Chere weekend) and August 6 (Mountain Dance and Folk Festival weekend).
Shindig on the Green’s focus has always been bluegrass music, and the Stoney Creek Boys are back this year as the Shindig’s house band. The Stoney Creek Boys have become a tradition themselves, lending continuity and a sense of place to the multiple generations of families that attend each summer. Shindig on the Green organizers also arrange two or three square dancing or clogging groups to entertain the more than 2,000 regulars each weekend. Beyond that, the show changes from week to week, depending on who shows up to play their music. If a musician is interested in playing for the crowd, custom has always been at the Shindig for the musician to bring his or her fiddle, banjo, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, or harmonica, and audition about an hour before the show starts. The idea among these musicians is to share their particular music, not necessarily perform, with the crowd.
While the music coming from the stage and its big speaker system is some of the best the area has to offer, many excellent musicians opt to play in small groups under the stars or the trees on the outer edge of the plaza to the delight of those around them. The music brings many people to their feet, dancing in either the street or the cool grass. Grandma can be found dancing with “the grandbaby;” husbands and wives and young couples alike, all revel in the music and the warm evenings.
Many generations of many families can be seen enjoying these summer gatherings, week after week. All that’s needed for an easy night out under the stars is a couple of lawn chairs and a picnic basket. The mood is comfortable, with an easy pace, and a perfect environment for true relaxation.
For those who would rather have someone else do the cooking, plenty of delicious food is on hand for purchase, such as barbeque, hot dogs, etc. Shindig organizers also offer Shindig t-shirts and caps for sale, with a catchy design, to help offset expenses.
Shindig on the Green is the handiwork of the Folk Heritage Committee, and is coordinated through the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Asheville Parks and Recreation remains a vitally important co-sponsor for the music series.
Shindig on the Green is an excellent example of the vision that George Pack had for Asheville many years ago when he bought the land where College Street now runs. He deeded that land to the city with the stipulation that the city would deed the old courthouse building to him (which he promptly tore down because it sat on the top of the hill and blocked the view from what is now Pack Square). He wanted a wide, green expanse of public land where citizens could gather and socialize; he thought it was important to the growth of the city and the enjoyment of those who lived here.
Each summer Saturday evening, the tradition continues.
Shindig on the Green is free and open to the public.
For more information or directions, please visit the Folk Heritage Committee web site, www.folkheritage.org.
(Images provided by Shindig on the Green.)