Crossing over: Fridays moves south, spotlights locals
Fridays After Five kicks off its 18th season May 6 with a headliner band called Indecision, but organizers of Charlottesville's biggest outdoor music party sure aren't waffling about the importance of local tunes.
"We feel that's what Fridays After 5 is all about," says Fridays front man Kirby Hutto. "That's always been the most successful. The bands play in front of friends and family. And we've got lots of local talent."
Besides Indecision, a Charlottesville-based groove-rock band, the 2005 season includes Corey Harris, Terri Allard, and perhaps even a Baaba Seth reunion.
For now, Hutto's biggest worry is leading crowds to the temporary location in the "Warehouse District" on Garrett Street and First, three blocks from the Downtown Mall.
"If you're standing in Central Place, it's shorter to get to the Garrett Street site than to the amphitheater," he claims.
"I think it's good to introduce people to the southside of the Mall," says Charlottesville Vice Mayor (and former Baaba Seth member) Kevin Lynch.
It's also a little more hazardous because the railroad track borders the site and must be crossed when coming from the Mall.
"That's one of our biggest concerns," Hutto admits. First Street is one of the few crossings in the city that doesn't have a gate– and there's a Friday night train.
However, police and security are poised for the additional duties of keeping celebrants off the tracks.
Other than the location, Hutto promises everything will look the same– at least until the event moves into the new Coran Capshaw-built amphitheater later this summer.
"The first part of the season, we're trying to keep it as much like people remember– wristbands, the beer truck set-up, the same times," says Hutto, who ran the event from 1992 to 1996. "There's going to be a lot of change, and we're trying to ease into it."
Like Fridays past, nonprofits will staff the event. The Music Resource Center, a Capshaw favorite, will hold the ABC special-event license and see that the beer gets poured.
But those beer trucks will be a thing of the past when Fridays reaches its permanent home. "Once in the Pavilion, we'll hold the ABC license as a for-profit," explains Hutto. "We'll be running a cash bar."
A late July debut for the new amphitheater is "looking firmer and firmer," says Hutto, and perhaps that's why the Fridays After 5 schedule goes only through July 29 with new-school soul band Hamiltons. The rest of the season is TBA.
And as Hutto promises some exciting national acts for the official Charlottesville Pavilion debut, he addresses the persistent skybox-at-the-amphitheater rumor.
"Skyboxes are much too generous a term," he says. He calls them "private reserved boxes" with cocktail seating and chairs that can be rented for the whole season for those who want a more premium amphitheater experience.
The boxes are about halfway up on the same level as the sound boards. The front and back of the amphitheater will be for general public seating. "We're not reserving the front section for the high rollers," Hutto says.
Meanwhile, blankets are apropos for the Garrett Street location that will see Fridays through its transitional stage as it moves to what city officials like to call "the next level."
Just stay off those train tracks.
Fridays After Five 2005 Schedule
For the Garrett Street Site
Date Headliner Style Opening Act
May 6 Indecision Groove Rock Fletcher Bridge
May 13 Bio Ritmo Salsa Machine Beleza Brazil
May 20 Guano Boys Island Tunes Stable Roots
May 27 Alligator Classic Grateful Dead Jim Waive Band
June 3 Nighthawks Rocking Blues Eli Cook & Red House Blues
June 10 Monticello Road Original Rock Jangling Reinhardts
June 17 Chickenhead Blues Band Classic Blues Ian Gilliam
June 24 American Dumpster Junkyard Americana Chinkapin
July 1 Hackensaw Boys Boisterous Bluegrass Sarah White & the Pearls
July 8 Stoned Wheat Things R&B, Reggae, and Blues Hard Rain
July 15 Corey Harris Modern Blues Master Las Gitanas
July 22 Rogan Bros w/ Darrell Rose Classic Rock Timi and Steve Ryalls
July 29 Hamiltons New School Soul Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun
Plenty of parking, promise Fridays organizers of its new, south-of-South-Street location.
MAP COURTESY CHARLOTTEVILLE PAVILION LLC