News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Bluemont’s back! A concert for the community
BY JESSE SCOTT
FOR THE FREE LANCE–STAR
Thirty-six years ago, the Bluemont Concert Series was born.
With a big heart and humble expectations, the president and founder of the series, Peter Dunning, wanted to bring cultural offerings to the small town of Bluemont, in Loudoun County.
Today, the Bluemont Concert Series is a summertime staple in seven cities across the commonwealth and has produced nearly 5,000 unique shows over its storied history.
The 2012 Bluemont Concert Series in Fredericksburg kicks off this Saturday at 7 p.m. with a performance by the legendary folk duo Robin and Linda Williams. The series will run Saturday evenings at Maury Field through Aug. 18.
“It’s all about getting people together and doing great things,” said Dunning. “The idea is to provide a variety of really high-quality cultural entertainment in communities across Virginia. It’s not a classical music series, it’s not a jazz series and it’s not a bluegrass series. It’s a real combination of everything.”
This year’s Bluemont Concert Series packs the signature variety that so many in Fredericksburg and beyond have come to love over the years.
In addition to Robin and Linda Williams, this summer’s slate includes the Cajun rockin’ Dixie Power Trio (July 14), the swingin’ King Teddy (July 21), bluegrass freaks The Hot Seats (July 28), the steel band Pan Masters (Aug. 4), Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie (Aug. 11) and the beautifully harmonic Furnace Mountain (Aug. 18).
Each year, a number of community sponsors, corporate partners and a dedicated board of local volunteers come together to plan and produce every Bluemont event. Fredericksburg will forever have a special place in Dunning’s heart for its consistent outpouring of community support.
“Fredericksburg is a truly special place,” said Dunning. “We’ve been doing concerts in Fredericksburg since 1990 and, from the beginning, it marked a major, positive change for us. The people in Fredericksburg have always been great. The board of volunteers built a strong foundation when we first started, and it has grown to be even stronger since.”
In recent years, the Bluemont Concert Series has endured economic challenges. According to Dunning, the series has seen revenue decrease by more than 45 percent. Amid financial difficulties, the folks at Bluemont continue to find ways to strum along.
“The philosophy of doing quality programs hasn’t changed or suffered at all,” said Dunning. “We’re not able to afford some of the more expensive groups that we’ve had in the past, but we always put our money to good use. Our lineup this year proves just that.”
For fans and artists alike, the series carries such a unique charm. There’s something about the raw music, the rustic Maury backdrop and a humid Virginia evening that makes for pure bliss.
“It really is a sweet concept,” said Linda Williams, a Bluemont veteran who has played a number of shows with her husband, Robin, over the years. “At Bluemont, it’s not like we roll in for a job and go home. We’re set up at a place where people really come out to appreciate and enjoy the environment.”
“They want us and they make us feel good,” added Robin Williams. “That’s why we keep coming back.”
Robin and Linda Williams are now in their 39th year of playing together and later this year will release their 22nd album. Their insight on how they’ve made it so long in the industry can probably be applied to the Bluemont Concert Series.
“It’s all about perseverance,” said Linda Williams. “Life can be hard and can have its challenges it’s all about bolstering each other up, counting your blessings and making positive things happen.”
Jesse Scott is a freelance writer and Fredericksburg native. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WANT TO GO?
What: Bluemont Concert Series
Where: Maury Stadium, Hanover Street and Kenmore Avenue, downtown Fredericksburg. In case of bad weather, the show will take place at James Monroe High School, 2300 Washington Ave., Fredericksburg
When: Saturdays through Aug. 18; starting at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $5 adults; $4 seniors; $2 children 12 and under
Info: 540/955-8186, bluemont.org