"Smyrna at Night" is back next week with a new installment of family-friendly fun in downtown Smyrna. This time, there will be no venue-hopping but the night promises to be a one-stop country music binge-fest.
Next week, the Town of Smyrna will host the second installment of “Smyrna at Night,” an evening that includes line dancing, barbeque and an up-and-coming Nashville star.
“Smyrna at Night” began this summer when the town teamed up with Gable Music Ventures, a booking company based in Wilmington, for a single night of music in downtown Smyrna. The idea was to remind people that there is plenty to experience in downtown Smyrna. The stages were set up at various indoor and outdoor venues, turning all of downtown into one large street party.
Anxious to capitalize on the success of that night, organizers immediately began brainstorming for version 2.0. GMV co-owner Jeremy Hebbel said that many people commented that one category of music had been left out of the multi-genre night.
“Everyone talked about what a good time they had,” Hebbel said. “But, the overwhelming response was that there was no country music. So, we knew immediately what direction we should take the second night.”
Hebbel said they started planning but when they checked in with town organizers, they were concerned that the evening sounded too similar to the first one. So, they scaled back the large street party idea and came up with a more intimate, family-friendly night.
The first noticeable change is in the number of bands and venues. Rather than 14 acts spread among seven venues all over downtown, next week’s event will take place exclusively on Market Street Plaza and feature three acts: No Hat Billy, Lilly Parsons’ line dancing lessons and the Adam Craig Band.
No Hat Billy, the night’s opening act actually features local police officer Bill Eastridge. The band was recommended to Hebbel by Mayor Joanne Masten, who was simultaneously encouraging Eastridge to reach out to Hebbel as well.
“I’m so thrilled we can give a local guy some exposure,” Masten said. “He’s been playing music for a long time and he’s such an asset to the town and an all-around good guy. I’m thrilled.”
After No Hat Billy, Deejay EA will spin well-known country tunes while Lilly Parsons, a line-dancing instructor at Cowboy Up in Dover, will lead the crowd in some new moves.
Around 8 p.m., the Adam Craig Band will hit the stage. Sirius XM subscribers who have a tendency to listen to “The Highway” station may recognize Craig’s latest hit “Little Bit More of You,” which is charting on the Hot 45 chart. Craig’s biography puts him in Nashville for a decade, working towards a singer-songwriter career. It appears to be all coming together for him: Aside from a deal with Sony and a charting song, Craig also co-wrote “Fast Lanes” with Jason Aldean for Aldean’s new album, “Old Boots, New Dirt.” He also co-wrote “World to Me” with Dustin Lynch.
“I’m very excited that we were able to get him,” Hebbel said. “He’s top notch and name that I think some people are going to recognize.”
THE FUTURE FOR ‘SMYRNA AT NIGHT’
Anyone concerned that Smyrna could not raise the money for another free night of entertainment should have talked to Mayor Masten first so she could ease their minds.
“So many of the businesses and people that I reached out to were immediately on board,” she said. “They all want the same thing I do. They want people coming downtown and seeing how much there is to do, how much is coming soon.”
Masten said that initially she tried not to ask for more money of people who gave last time. She said she made a whole new list of businesses and people that she thought might be receptive and was once again blown away by everyone’s generosity. A few people who donated to the first “Smyrna at Night” even gave money again.
“All the donations were between $250 and $1, 000,” Masten said, totaling $6,200 from 17 donors. “And, many of those people told me to come back next time, too. We’re so blessed.”
Next time could include something other than music. Organizers are contemplating outdoor movies or events that might also showcase Lake Como.
“We just want it to become a fun family thing,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s about bringing people downtown who might typically avoid it but there are several locations in Smyrna worth highlighting.”