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Concerts to get Galax into the groove

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By April Wright, Reporter

A free party that's fun for all ages, Galax's new summer concert series “Groovin' On Grayson” will offer a chance to enjoy live outdoor music with friends — and the possibility of making new ones.

While Galax is rich in its bluegrass and old-time musical heritage, the Galax Downtown Association wants to book local musicians that perform other genres — rock, rhythm and blues, beach, country, swing and jazz.

With scheduled events for the final Friday of each month from June until September, the series will debut on Friday, featuring music from headlining funk band Curious Strange of Blacksburg and acoustic rock band Entre Nous of Roanoke.

While the downtown streets are usually dark and silent by 9 p.m. most nights in Galax, Groovin' On Grayson, which will be located at the Grayson Street outdoor stage, will be held from 6-10 p.m.

Since the event will be hosted on Fridays — the same day The Rex Theater and WBRF-FM hosts the bluegrass and old-time music Blue Ridge Backroads radio show — the GDA decided to take a different approach by featuring other forms of music. Modeled after other towns that sponsor “Alive After Five” events, the intention is to provide something for all ages — whether 8, 18 or 80 years old.

Groovin' On Grayson provides a way for people to meet, mingle, listen to live music and dance until they drop. With children's activities at each concert, such as face painting and storytelling, there's something for every age. "The GDA has come a long way in the last year in promoting downtown Galax and catering to each demographic to increase the revenue in Galax," said outgoing GDA President Erin Riedhammer.

"This is a family-friendly event with children's activities that is also geared toward young adults who don't have the means of getting to know their peers," said Riedhammer.

With two bands performing at each Groovin' On Grayson event, GDA chose diverse and talented groups of musicians.

A group of five Virginia Tech graduates out of the Blacksburg music scene, Curious Strange plays a wide range of music, blended with elements of rock, funk, blues, jazz, soul and Southern rock. Their music is accented with multi-layered harmony to give it an original sound and provide opportunities for dance.

This band has grown in popularity and has been all over the regional music scene since it formed two years ago. Curious Strange is scheduled to perform at this year's FloydFest music festival.

Acoustic rock band Entre Nous uses funky upbeat guitar rhythms, bringing a fresh, modern approach to acoustic compositions. The talents of this trio have landed them on media such as WDBJ-7, 96.3 WROV FM, The Arrow 94.9 FM and Z101.5 FM.

"This gives us the opportunity to showcase regional talent that doesn't get the chance to be showcased in other ways," said Riedhammer. "And for people to come out after the workweek and share a good time with their friends."

The GDA will be on hand at the event to sell various merchandise, such as souvenir glasses and T-shirts, to help raise funds for the non-profit organization. Groovin' On Grayson will also feature cool beverages and food vendors. Bogeys Restaurant is expected to vend at the June 27 event and will incorporate vegetarian options, as well.

"Ideally, this would create a fun and safe event for citizens to enjoy and bring awareness to GDA efforts," said Riedhammer.

Because the GDA is an environmentally conscious organization, all plastic and glass used to serve the public at the event will be recycled.

Various downtown shops, which normally close at 5 p.m., will be open for business during the concerts.

Groovin' On Grayson

Final Friday of each month

6-10 p.m.

Grayson Street Stage

Admission is free

• June 27 — acoustic rock band Entre Nous and funk band Curious Strange, children's activities featuring face painting, storytelling, sidewalk chalk and more.

• July 25 — TBA

• Aug. 29 — TBA

• Sept. 26 — Andy Hollander Band of Roanoke

For more information, to provide ideas regarding the event or to volunteer your band for a booking, visit www.groovinongrayson.com or send an e-mail to galax@galaxgazette.com.