People stopping in at the Woodstock Visitors Center recently have been asking about the Lantern Series presented by Elm Street Cultural Arts Village. The music series takes place on the Event Green at Market and Elm streets. It is a ticketed event, and you can purchase general admission seats or reserve a table for six or eight.
The first season included highly respected artists from around the country, like Marc Broussard, Sam Reider and the Human Hands, and the Barefoot Movement. Festivals like South by Southwest and Bonnaroo are common stops on Broussard’s tour schedule. Sam Reider and the Human Hands headlined the Savannah Music Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center this year. Country Music Television called the Barefoot Movement “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene.”
The experience is unlike any other music event in our community. Tables near the stage are creatively decorated by concertgoers. The delighted faces of engaged attendees glow in the light of lanterns and candelabra. There’s a genuine connection between the artists and audience.
The series was made possible by an endowment from Margaret Jenkins, a resident invested in Woodstock’s art community. Her final gift to its residents was programming that would expose them to deeper musical experiences and spark conversations that ultimately would add depth to Woodstock’s arts culture.
We are fortunate to have so many free opportunities to enjoy music, like Woodstock Summer Concert Series at Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater and WDSTK Roots Music Nights on the Elm Street Event Green. There are a lot of places in downtown Woodstock, and throughout the city, that have a full schedule of live music for patrons, and the list is growing.
However, the Lantern Series is trying for something different. According to Elm Street Arts Village Executive Director Christopher Brazelton, “The series consists of different genres, backgrounds and even ideologies. We hope to bring the community together to find a literal and figurative common ground at the Lantern Series.”
So, it’s troubling to field questions about the series like, “Why should we pay admission for a concert in Woodstock” or “Why should I pay for admission when I can listen for free from the brewery or the trail?” If you’re asking these questions, then possibly the Lantern Series wasn’t created with you in mind.
It’s designed for people who are seeking an elevated musical experience. It’s for people who consume the pages of Rolling Stone and expectantly await the next episode of National Public Radio’s “Tiny Desk Concerts.” It’s for people who want to have their perspective changed and their appreciation expanded.
Oscar Wilde said, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
– By Stacy Brown, Marketing Manager IN WDSTK for the city of Woodstock.