For the second consecutive year, the Dobson Tourism Development Authority and the Surry County Tourism Authority have combined forces to bring a summer and autumn concert series to the county seat.
The Music at the Market Concert Series kicked off its second year recently, with a July 28 concert by The Country Boys held at the Dobson Farmer’s Market.
Next week, on August 11, Hubert Lawson & The Bluegrass Country Boys will take to the stage. All of the concerts are free, and people can take lawn chairs and set up for a family time in the setting sun, or sit under the market shelter partially out of the elements.
Travis Frye, who serves as tourism coordinator for both tourism authorities, said he thought of starting the series in 2022 largely because of the farmer’s market facility.
“They (town officials) invested so much money in it, made it such a beautiful place, it’s such a wonderful asset for the community,” he said. “I thought why not use it as a music outlet and a multi-purpose facility?”
He said the region is rife with talented old time and bluegrass musicians, whose craft hearkens to a time when much of that music — played and celebrated around the world — was developing in Surry County and the surrounding region.
While music is the main draw for some, Frye said he wanted another reason for folks to visit — each concert has a handful of food trucks on hand, enough for concert fans to have dinner or just find a sweet snack. He also tries to have a revolving set of food vendors, so each concert features different types of cuisine for those attending.
In 2022, he said the concerts began in August, with the final one in November.
“The first couple of concerts, there were about 50 people attending,” he said. Frye said he knows it takes some time to build up awareness for a series, but after 50 showed up for the second show, he grew a little concerned.
Those worries faded soon enough.
“We started seeing the numbers come up after the second show,” he said, with roughly 75 at the third show and more than 100 at the fourth.
“The last two shows of 2022 we had over 200 people,” he said.
While the gathering was intended mainly for local residents to have an entertainment outlet, Frye said he was a little surprised to find that there were more than local residents in attendance.
“We had people from out of town who were staying in local hotels, eating in restaurants where they saw the flyers, come out,” he said. He met folks from Florida, Ohio, as far away as Arizona, at the concerts last year.
“It was kind of cool because we were able to share the cultural heritage of the area…we are so blessed to have old time music and musicians here…We almost take it for granted, but to people who have never heard this before, it is so unique.”
This year’s series started earlier, Frye said, to avoid another November event. While the turnout was strong, he said the concert “was a little chilly.”
They are held rain or shine.
“The only thing that could prevent us from holding it is if there’s lightning in the area. If it’s just rain, there’s plenty of room under the shelter.”
The market and concert venue is at 903 E. Atkins Street in Dobson, with the shows running 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., although the food trucks are up and operating by 6 o’clock.
The rest of the year’s series is:
– Aug. 11, Hubert Lawson & The Bluegrass Country Boys
– Aug. 25, Harrison Bidge
– Sept. 29, Slate Mountain Ramblers
– Oct. 6, None of the Above
– Oct. 20, Steve Marshall & Highroad