New Monthly Event Eyed For Downtown Salisbury; Performing Arts To Be Highlighted

SALISBURY – Plans for a new monthly music event in Salisbury’s downtown were rolled out before the City Council last week.

Aiming to bring more visitors to the downtown, First Saturday will provide a free, family-friendly experience for locals while also promoting local business, tourism growth and community involvement through music and celebration. The event is an all-volunteer effort, a downtown economic development initiative and a project of the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District Committee.

“We [First Saturday Committee] are just a group of young people that live in Salisbury that love the town and want to see more things happening in the downtown,” said Sarah Rayne, co-chair of the First Saturday Committee.

Bands will be chosen by the First Saturday Committee and should be full bands that are family friendly and are able to provide their own sound system. The committee hopes to raise enough money to eventually purchase its own sound system.

“What we’re looking for is a nice mix of originals and covers from local bands with a large draw,” said Ben Rayne, co-chair of the First Saturday Committee. “We want everyone to enjoy these concerts, whether they be two years old or 90 years old.”

First Saturday will be located in the heart of downtown Salisbury on North Division Street. The stage will be erected on North Division Street, in front of the Government Office Building, facing Main Street. During the event, North Division Street between Church Street and Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic but will still be accessible to pedestrians. Main Street will remain open to traffic throughout the event.

Accompanying the music each month will be the First Saturday Arts Market, which will host about 10 local artists.

“We want every facet of Salisbury’s arts scene to benefit from this event,” said Sarah Halcott, vice chair of the First Saturday Committee and coordinator of the Arts Market. “The market will not be as large as what’s available during Third Friday, because our primary focus is performing arts. However, we think the Arts Market will be a nice addition to the event, as well as one more reason to come Downtown.”

Sarah Rayne furthered First Saturday differs from Third Friday in that the event’s main focus is on the performing arts. The centerpiece of the event will be a local family-friendly band that’s paid for its services by event sponsors. There are different levels of sponsorship, each with their own perks.

“Georgetown, Del. is funding its Summer Concerts in the Park series in this way and they’ve been very successful,” Sarah Rayne said. “We’re confident that our local businesses, organizations, elected officials, families, and individuals will help us make this event a reality for Downtown Salisbury.”

First Saturday also aims to collaborate with downtown restaurants to market the event as dinner and a show.

“We encourage downtown restaurants to have carryout specials so that people can grab dinner and come set up picnic style and watch the band while they eat, or we end at 7 p.m. so they can grab dinner when the show is over,” Sarah Rayne said.

The event will be held on the first Saturday of each month, beginning on April 4, 2015, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be seven events in 2015, with the last one being on Oct. 3, 2015.

Committee member Joey Gilkerson has offered use of the New Year’s Eve stage for the events.

“It’s events like First Saturday and Third Friday that draw people to Salisbury’s downtown and fosters the continued growth of the heart of our city,” Gilkerson said. “Eventually, we’d like to see events in the downtown every weekend, so this is a step in the right direction.”

The First Saturday Committee is planning a kickoff event for February to raise funds to cover startup costs. The venue and date are still to be determined. There will be several bands, as well as a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. More information regarding the event will be released at a future date.

For more information or to purchase a sponsorship, email the First Saturday Committee at 1stsaturdaysby@gmail.com or visit its Facebook page.

The committee presented First Saturday before the City Council last Monday night.

“I am looking forward to seeing this evolve,” Spies said.

Council President Jake Day agreed.

“I have seen a lot of communities that branch beyond the one Second Saturday, or First Friday events, and I think this is a really smart step for us as a community. I thank all of you for taking initiative and the Arts and Entertainment District Commission for their leadership and willing to take on an additional effort,” Day said.