Hapeville Main Street and Marketing Manager Allie O’Brien, who has run the series for the last nine years, said it began more than 10 years ago as a street festival encouraging revitalization, but became a victim of its own popularity.
“It was in the 600 block of South Central Avenue, to showcase downtown businesses and encourage patronage,” she said. “It grew and the street closures actually hindered business access and parking.”
The park, where the gazebo has become the stage, became the solution and the series’ home for at least five years, O’Brien said.
“The city now runs the concert series, but many of the volunteers now on the Hapeville Main Street Board [who invented the series] support the event,” O’Brien said.
The kickoff concert July 18 will feature Hapeville’s own John Stringer, who calls the music on his upcoming solo album “Limitless Love and Light,” “soulful, reflective, acoustic and pop, with a hint of rock.”
But that night he will perform as a vocalist with The Last Five Standing, whom O’Brien called “one of Atlanta’s premier rock cover bands.”
“People love it,” O’Brien said. “They love to dance around and sing along and do requests. That’s fun.”
Stringer, who will return with an acoustic set later in the series, said he always enjoys performing for his hometown fans but he and his family members are equally big fans of the city.
“We love the way the community is shaping up. It’s eclectic and fun,” he said.
The rest of the series includes The Foxes and The Fossils on Aug. 15.
“Foxes and Fossils are daughters and fathers,” O’Brien said. “It brings a neat crowd out because the girls have their friends and the dads’ music is more laid back. Their friends bring their own lawn chairs and picnic baskets. It’s like a mini-Chastain [Park].”
Bands formed by alumni of the now-defunct Hapeville High School will play Sept. 19 and Men in Blues on Oct. 17.
“It’s also our chili cook-off contest,” O’Brien said about the last date. “There’s a lot of activity then and we’re hoping the blues band will keep the party going till 11 p.m.