The Town of Smyrna wants to see more people shopping, dining and enjoying themselves downtown. So, they've teamed up with Gable Music Ventures to bring a free single-night music festival to the streets of Smyrna.
Not content to watch other towns reap the benefits of summer music festivals, the Town of Smyrna is teaming up with Gable Music Ventures, a booking company based in Wilmington, for a single night of music in downtown Smyrna.
The event, dubbed “Smyrna at Night” will feature 14 music acts across seven stages set up at or near well-known downtown venues: Sheridan’s Irish Pub, Odd Fellows, Painted Stave, Smyrna Opera House, Town Hall and 1 N. Main Street.
The festival promises to be family-friendly and requires no ticket purchases to attend.
News of the new venture came at 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, courtesy of the Gable Music Ventures Facebook page. At that point, the Town of Smyrna’s Public Information Officer, Dawn Thompson, explained that artist contracts were still being negotiated and a final list would be ready for release by the end of the week.
At 8 p.m., Friday, May 30, the final release turned into a first release when five acts were announced through the GMV Facebook page. Those face acts included Nadjah Nicole, Bullbuckers, The Late Saints, The Honey Badgers and Justin McNatt of the Justin McNatt Band.
Then, at 8 p.m., Monday night, five more acts were announced through GMV: Brooke Dicaro, Lovebettie (who will deliver an acoustic performance), the Richard Carl Band, the Kevin McCove Band and the Billy Penn Burger Band.
Four more acts will be announced in the coming days, including the headlining band, which GMV co-owner Jeremy Hebbel said will be a more nationally recognizable name. He added that at least two acts are scheduled to play at each stage with the exception of the stage at the Smyrna Opera House, which will play host to the unannounced headlining act.
“We’re really looking at this as an opportunity to boost the young music scene in Smyrna,” Hebbel said. “There are going to be several local bands participating alongside regional acts out of Pittsburgh, New Jersey and the region.”
Both Hebbel and Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten remarked that they have been blown away by the enthusiasm and response so far. For Masten, that excitement has been one of the best aspects of planning the festival, especially since the money required to fund Smyrna at Night would need to be raised privately.
“To make it happen, we needed $6,000 and every penny is coming from private donations,” Masten explained ahead of Monday night’s town council meeting. “I just called people up, explained the concept to them and told them that if they wanted to participate, that would be great but if not, that’s OK, too.”
Her decidedly humble approach seems to have worked. She’s already collected 21 checks from local businesses and individuals and expects to pick up four or five more in the coming days.
In addition to music, local PIO Thompson said festival organizers are also looking into walkable dining options from food trucks so people can grab a bite to eat while they pop in and out of venues.
Thompson, Hebbel and Masten all mentioned revitalizing Smyrna’s downtown area, making it both the motivation and a goal of the single-night event.
“We want to wake up downtown, show off our venues and remind everyone how much there is to enjoy in downtown Smyrna,” Thompson said. “We want it to be like a street party and for it to have a laid-back and fun street-festival vibe.”
Both Hebbel and Masten also confirmed that another goal for Smyrna at Night was to make it an annual event, although plans for next year likely won’t be discussed until after the town’s Independence Day events have taken place.
“Smyrna at Night” is scheduled for Thursday, June 26 between 5:30 and 10 p.m. The festival and entrance to all venues will be free. Additional purchases of food, drinks or other items will have separate charges.