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‘Burg will be jamming
RELATED: Bruce Hornsby excels at blending musical styles. Here’s what he told us.
BY JONAS BEALS
Although he’s reluctant to talk numbers, Celebrate Virginia Live promoter David Peterson said that he’s been encouraged—humbled, even—by the way the Fredericksburg community has supported his concert series at Celebrate Virginia South. He said he’s already thinking about next year.
Before that happens, he will have to make it through this season, which (as of now) ends with Foreigner on Aug. 3. And before he gets to that, he has to get through this weekend, with three concerts in four days.
“It’s a big weekend,” Peterson said. “It’s nice to have it at a point in the season where our systems are pretty well refined.”
For four years, Peterson and his crew have been bringing national touring acts to Fredericksburg, learning a little with each show.
One thing they’ve learned is what sort of music works in this region.
Call this weekend the result of those experiments: a legacy (or “classic”) rock act in Bruce Hornsby, a country act in Darius Rucker and a modern pop–rock act in Daughtry.
Peterson said that when he started the series in 2009, he wasn’t sure “what the market was going to ask for.”
Judging by the way the lineups have evolved over the years, the market is asking for a lot more country music, and maybe less ’90s rock.
Peterson responded with acts like The Band Perry, Gretchen Wilson, Justin Moore and Rodney Atkins.
“I hope the community has noticed our programming has grown, and the stature of the artists we’ve been able to attract has reflected our growth,” Peterson said.
Whether it’s country or rock, the names have gotten a little bigger each year, and this weekend is a prime example.
Apart from Hornsby, whose chart-topping days are nearly 25 years behind him, Rucker and Daughtry are still threats to hit the No. 1 spot in their respective genres.
If Celebrate Virginia Live is the barometer, it’s clear that Fredericksburg loves its pop music.
The three shows this weekend offer a unique opportunity to take a tour of radio-friendly American music through the last four decades.
Start with the classically trained piano pop–rock of Hornsby, which dominated the ’80s, and move into the double-whammy of Rucker, whose band Hootie & the Blowfish ruled ’90s pop–rock and faded from view a few years later.
Rucker regained his star status by reinventing himself as a country singer in 2008.
Daughtry, led by Chris Daughtry, is an example of the most modern sort of pop star—the “American Idol” contestant. He finished fourth in the fifth season but has found greater post-show fame than winner Taylor Hicks and the other runners up.
While there is a common thread running through all three acts this weekend, they really couldn’t be more dissimilar.
Peterson said there are diehard Celebrate Virginia Live fans who come to every show regardless of the act, but that most stick with their preferred genre, so there are likely to be unique faces at each show.
And each of those faces brings Peterson closer to another season, and hopes of even bigger acts to come.
Ultimately, that could mean more stability for the series, and a chance for Peterson to breathe a little easier.
“We’re growing, but it’s not without its challenges,” he said. “We’re reaching an escape velocity.”
Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036
LIVE THIS WEEKEND
Celebrate Virginia Live concerts this weekend:
Thursday at 6: Bruce Hornsby w/Elby Brass
Friday at 6 p.m.: Darius Rucker w/Ryan French and Honky Tonk Heroes
Sunday at 5 p.m.: Daughtry