It’s a shindig: On the sidewalk

October 2014 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community

By Melissa Wagoner

Lawrence Stone is inviting folks to “come early, stay late and spend the whole day bathing in music” at the third annual Sidewalk Shindig in downtown Silverton.

Stone is chairman of a small committee of retired gentlemen, all of whom value the Silverton community and wish to bring a focus to the small businesses that make up the historic downtown area.

“We appreciate the challenge of having a small, privately owned business,” Stone said. This appreciation is shared by committee member and founder Greg Hart. The former owner of Silver Creek Coffee House, Hart knows first-hand how difficult running a small business can be.

“At first it was hard on me with the business to plan it all. I planned the first one in three or four months. Lots of times we’d have a meeting and I’d have to get up and help customers” Hart said.

Hart, now retired from the coffee business, is no longer as involved in the planning of the event but it is still growing and has increased from 30 hours of music in 2012 to 85 hours this year with 23 scheduled musical acts and several roving independently.

“The one thing they all share is they have a passion for music and entertaining,” Stone said. “They’re not in it for notoriety and money.” Neither are the gentlemen who organize the annual event which is run like a non-profit.

“Keeping it family friendly is the main reason for the event and to help the merchants during the slow part of the season,” Hart said.

He estimates the Shindig brings in more than 1,000 patrons each year, many contributing to the free event by purchasing goods at participating businesses. All of the money brought in by the Shindig goes back into the next year’s event and to that year’s roving musicians.

“The merchants pay the bands that are there and rovers are paid by the excess budget,” Hart said.

“They have a full sound. It’s upbeat,” Stone said.

The music will flow at 28 participating businesses around town with acts changing every hour throughout the day and into the evening.

“There’ll be little surprises. Last year we had three or four unexpected street musicians that popped up. We encourage people who aren’t scheduled but we would like them to check in at the information center first,” Stone said.

Stone, a seasoned planner of more than 100 events, still gets excited talking about this one.

“Almost anyone finds some form of music they enjoy. A lot of people are introduced to music they’ve never been introduced to before. People come for part of the day, go home and come back. Once an event starts, it’s a roller coaster ride. It takes on its own life. Sometimes it’s most fun when it rages out of joyful control,” he said.

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