By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration has elected to shift weekly musical entertainment away from the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater and instead focus on downtown performances.
The locations haven’t been finalized, but the downtown farmers’ market at the intersection of Bank and Market streets could be one venue for the free weekly shows, city operations head Michael Hall said this week.
The Riverfront Amphitheater — which hosted weekly festivals during the summer under previous Mayor Doug England — will still be utilized for major events and holiday performances, Hall said.
“When we looked into what we wanted to do, we liked what was going on [at the Amphitheater], but we felt it could have a bigger impact if it moved into the downtown,” Hall said of the weekly summer concert series.
The time of the concerts will change, as the series has been dubbed “Live @ 5.”
Bands will play from 5 to 8 p.m. with intermittent breaks during the three-hour time frame, Hall said. The Rumors will kick-off the “Live @ 5” series June 1, and performer Aaron Crane will round out the series on Aug. 31.
In between, 12 other bands and musicians will take the stage, though the city hasn’t released exactly where the platform will be. Along with the farmers’ market, Hall said the city is considering closing downtown streets and setting up a stage to host some of the performances.
It will be “a rotation of sorts” for the site for the weekly shows, Hall said. By ending the performances at 8 p.m., people will have more time to frequent area restaurants and shops, he added.
“Our whole entertainment plan is to help downtown businesses and really show what New Albany has to offer,” he said.
The series is being touted as an after work destination, and local vendors will be selected to sell food and drinks, Hall said. Sponsors are covering the costs of the events, Gahan said.
“Live @ 5 will be an event that is free to the public — both in admission and cost to the taxpayers,” Gahan said.
Develop New Albany President Susan Kaempfer, who manages the downtown farmers’ market, said the venue lends itself for performances because the parking lot can be closed off so that it’s “safe for kids and anybody that might be walking around.”
“I think it’s a good idea,” she said of moving the summer entertainment series downtown. “I think it’s worth pursuing to see how it will appeal to folks.”
The Amphitheater is available for private rental, and Hall said there will still be holiday performances at the riverfront. For example Independence Day and Labor Day events are planned for the riverfront, Hall said.
“We’re not completely abandoning the Amphitheater,” he said.