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Music in the Grove to begin

By Reid Posey

news@oxfordeagle.com

To any Oxonians looking for some extra fun to cap off their weekends, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has you covered.

The Arts Council’s annual Summer Sunset Series is scheduled to kick off in the Grove this Sunday, June 5, at 6 p.m., with a musical performance by local folk-rock outfit Holy Ghost Electric Show. This year’s opening concert is being held in conjunction with the Arts Council’s annual membership picnic, which will offer hotdogs and potato chips provided by Polk’s and Golden Flake.

Wayne Andrews, executive director of the Arts Council, said that the Summer Sunset Series is a valuable opportunity to showcase to the public the positive impact the Arts Council can have on the community.

“It’s a true gathering of the community, it’s a mix of people of all ages, it’s a family activity,” he said. “We think this is a great way to invest in our community — live music in one of our most beautiful spaces, encouraging everyone to come out together. So we’re doing it there because we think it gives people an example of like, ‘Yeah, this is why I want to support the Arts Council, this is the fun stuff they do.’”

More specifically, Andrews thinks that this concert series is a way to help art become more accessible to all residents of Oxford.

“It’s open and accessible to everyone,” he said. “Having access to an arts experience where you feel open and welcome is huge because it starts teaching people a lifelong habit. There are very few things you can do for your entire life, and art is one of them.”

Andrews said that introducing and cultivating individuals’ appreciation for the arts is a valuable tool for building a strong sense of community and togetherness.

“It starts teaching you a common language, it gives us all a shared experience,” he said. “Live music can transform a community. It brings people together by showing diverse types of music. It helps share stories and experiences, but it also builds up communities. If you’re having these live community events, people start working together, they start seeing the possibilities, people start coming in from out of town, and it starts really creating a sense of community.”

Andrews also said that the diversity of musical acts every year enables citizens “to see and hear from different elements of the community.”

After this week’s performance by Holy Ghost Electric Show, the Summer Sunset Series will feature acts ranging from the jazz and blues of Alphonso Sanders to the Americana and alternative-country of the Luke Fisher Band to the acoustic stylings of Black Water Trio.

“You’re going to hear a little bit of everything, and I think that’s what makes it fun,” Andrews said.

Each week’s concert is scheduled to run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Grove on every Sunday evening in June, and admission to the public is free. For more information on the Summer Sunset Series, visit the Arts Council’s website at www.oxfordarts.com.