Music in the Park

The Rumors open
2013 concert series

‘Big Leg Emma’ to entertain
the Chautauqua crowd in September

(June 2013) – Residents are invited to bring their lawn chairs or their dancing shoes and enjoy some of the best musical talent the area has to offer as the Madison Main Street Program presents its “Music in the Park.” The free summer concert series has been a Madison tradition since the mid 1990s, drawing crowds to the Broadway Fountain for an evening of music and fun.


Photo provided

The Rumors, a popular
southern Indiana-based band,
consists of (from left) Troy Stiller, Rob Martin, Jon Beyl and Jerry McBroom (not pictured) on drums.

This year’s series first welcomes the Sellersburg-based group, The Rumors. Covering fav-orite hits from the ‘50s through to-day, rhythm guitarist Rob Marlin ex-plains that, “We’re drawn to music that keeps folks dancing and singing along. That provides the best energy for our shows and it affects the way we play in a positive way.”
A typical Rumors concert can have the audience tapping their feet to Garth Brooks, Coldplay and the Rolling Stones. “Our style is really dictated by the song,” Marlin said. “We can move from classic rock to country and more current music as long as it keeps the crowd engaged.”

Music in the Park Lineup

• June 14: The Rumors with opener Drew Geerts
• July 12: Jimmy Davis Band
• Aug. 9: Slick River Rockets
• Sept. 28: Big Leg Emma

• All concerts begin at 7 p.m. at Broadway Fountain in Madison, Ind. Sponsored by the Madison Main Street Program

The group, made up of Marlin, Jon Beyl on lead guitar, Troy Stiller on bass and Jerry McBroom on drums, has been playing together for almost 20 years. Marlin reflects on their long running success saying, “I think it’s the material we play. We try to keep the dancing and the singing-along going by choosing songs that should be very familiar to all ages.”
He stresses their audience-focused approach. “We’re not trying to be artistic; we’re just trying to help everyone have a good time. As long as the crowd has fun and participates, we’ll play for 1,000 or for 10 and have a great time.”
This year’s Music in the Park series kicks off June 14 with Drew Geerts playing an acoustic opening for The Rumors. Daddy Rabbit’s Concessions and Frazer Dogs will begin serving food at 6 p.m. with music running from 6:30-9 p.m.
Upcoming concert dates are July 12 with the Jimmy Davis Band of Madison; Aug. 9 with Slick River Rockets of Madison; and Sept. 28 with Big Leg Emma.
The latter group is from Chautauqua, N.Y. and bills itself as “an institution for high quality, original, Americana roots rock music. Based both in traditional music like folk, bluegrass, country, psychedelic and contemporary rock, the band is high powered and eclectic. Throw in some  thought provoking songwriting and harmonies, and you have a one of a kind equation that is unique, timeless, and infectious.”
There will be no early September concert this year, according to Whitney Wyatt, program director for the  Madison Main Street Program. She said she is particularly excited to invite area residents and visitors to come out and enjoy dinner along with the shows this year.
“We used to start later and only provided soft drinks and popcorn. Now we’ve got full-service hot food from two vendors, and the usual popcorn, bottled waters, and candy from our program,” she said.
“The Music in the Park series was developed as an event to draw people to downtown and to establish the area as a destination for arts and entertainment.”  
Geerts, who typically performs with the Christian group New Psalm, describes his style as “generally a little bit soulful.” For the Music in the Park series, he says he is “going to be playing a couple of what I consider goofy songs.”
Geerts looks to connect with the crowd saying that when performing. “It’s like you have a relationship with your audience. The more they get in to it the more you get in to it.” He thinks that one of the keys to a great live show is to “just have a good time.”
Geerts has enjoyed the music series as a member of the crowd in the past and is looking forward to taking the stage himself this year. “One of the reasons we go to Music in the Park is because of the diverse music,” he says fondly looking back at past concerts that have included steel drums to blues. He describes Music in the Park as “a very family orientated event,” recalling children enjoying face painting and balloons in years past.
“We try to stick to local and regional groups that have a strong following,” Wyatt said. “This event has to function as a fundraiser for our program, so having a large crowd is important.” She is particularly pleased with the quality of musicians that will be performing. “We expect our crowd sized to increase this year based on popularity of bands we’ve booked.”
Wyatt also credits part of the series’ long-running success with the concert site itself. “The fountain is an excellent location being that it is so close to Main Street and also the incredible aesthetic properties of the park,” she says.
Marlin says playing in the open air is appealing. “There are no walls or ceilings for our sound technician to contend with so, often times, we’re able to dial in a better mix when performing outside.”

The event is also designed to get people downtown and into the local shops. “Any time residents get together downtown to celebrate being alive and living in Madison, the value of the event far surpasses the dollar amount that is raised. We feel that we are adding to the value of living downtown, and also providing the enjoyment of ‘playing’ downtown after work hours. After all, downtown is our city and our county’s playground. It is the area that we all share ownership of. Everyone gains something intangible from the experience — a memory of enjoying their downtown, the same downtown that has been enjoyed since 1809.”

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