Fridays After 5: Taking it to the street
A grassy knoll and Garrett Street will be the temporary home of Fridays After 5– if Charlottesville approves Coran Capshaw's plan for an alternate location while the amphitheater on the Downtown Mall is under construction.
Capshaw's group has purchased the name "Fridays After 5" for an undisclosed amount from the soon-to-be defunct Charlottesville Downtown Foundation, the nonprofit that began the popular warm-weather event in 1988.
"I don't think we're revealing [the price] at this point," says long-time CDF board member Tony LaBua, who cites a few loose ends, such as proxy votes from members to dissolve the organization.
Earlier LaBua had hinted at other interested buyers despite some controversy over whether the CDF even owned the name.
Intellectual property attorney Sheldon Parker doesn't think the CDF had a name to sell.
For starters, several other American cities hold public events by that name, because he can find no evidence of the name was ever registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But most damningly, CDF leaders publicly announced the end of its participation in the concerts.
"If you indicate an intent to fold, that's really putting nails in the coffin," says Parker. "Even if they had a federal registration, once they announce it's terminating, it's gone."
Despite that, "We've purchased the name along with a lot of tables and tents," says Kirby Hutto, general manager for Capshaw's Pavillion LLC. "It's good that continuity will be there. People would be calling it that anyway."
Hutto also describes a plan for Fridays as a "block party" that will close Garrett Street from Gleason's Hardware to Standard Produce to house Fridays until the amphitheater is completed.
"It's downtown, but it's off the beaten path," which is why it may be possible to close the street on a temporary basis, he says.
"As a temporary location, I think people are going to support it," says LaBua.
The alt-Fridays plan includes use of the so-called grassy knoll by the old Ivy Industries and a strip of land along the railroad behind the pink warehouse that Capshaw is working to acquire, according to Hutto. "We want to put the porta-potties there so we won't have to move them every week," says Hutto.
Word is buzzing around town that Capshaw plans to host the City Market on that same strip of land, but Hutto says that's rumor. "I asked Coran, and he just rolled his eyes."
"I've certainly thought that was a wasted piece of land, but I haven't heard of [Capshaw] buying it," says Bob Stroh, president of the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville. "It may not be big enough to build on, but something great could be done with that strip. And he's a creative guy."
Others would contend something is being done with the strip: it's providing free parking downtown.
If the Garrett Street party plan is approved, Hutto is shooting for May 6 to kick off the Fridays' season, but warns that an opening act hasn't been booked and that nothing is solid yet.
He has delivered a special events application to the city for its myriad approvals, and hopes to hear back in a couple of weeks.
As for completion of the new amphitheater, no official dates have been released, and its ambitious construction schedule has shown signs of slippage.
However, the website of country music icon Loretta Lynn shows her scheduled to play the Charlottesville amphitheater July 30. Will she be the opening act?
TBD. "There are certain construction milestones that are still iffy– but progress has been good," Hutto says.
This block on Garrett Street between the railroad tracks and the new ACAC could be the temporary site for this year's Fridays After 5– if Charlottesville approves Coran Capshaw's plans.
PHOTO BY LAUREN BROOKS
Kirby Hutto, general manager of the new amphitheater, sees the temporary Fridays on Garrett as a "block party."<br>PHOTO BY LAUREN BROOKS
The temporary amphitheater for Fridays puts the bands where the tractor-trailer is parked and the audience in the grass beside the Capshaw-owned old Ivy Industries/new ACAC.<br>PHOTO BY LAUREN BROOKS