Concert series debuts Saturday on Riverwalk

From Local Sources

A new concert series that starts Saturday will bring different types of music to the area.

Unroofed is a three-concert series along the Jasper Riverwalk that will begin Saturday with the Nashville group Nikki Michelle & the Cosmic Collective. The concert will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Riverwalk’s Dave Buehler Plaza.

“One of the things we wanted to do is introduce different types of music that we don’t always have in our area,” said Kevin Manley, executive director of the Dubois County Tourism Commission. “We wanted to try to see if it would bring a different draw of people here.”

The name Unroofed emphasizes the idea of having concerts at a venue with no roof — outdoor concerts.

“Being outside, seeing the sky,” Manley said. “We thought we could build on that idea.”

The concept for Unroofed was created about two years ago. A committee working on the series was applying for a grant called “Levitt Amp (Your City).” It comes from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting and promoting free, live music.

But because of timing, the committee was not able to finish the grant application before the application deadline. So the committee revamped its plan for applying in the future.

“We wanted to try this out first,” Manley said. “We want to get through this year and get some data. And then when we file for the Levitt Amp grant, we can put that data in with the application.”

The Levitt Amp grant is a $25,000 grant that must be matched locally, generating $50,000 for the project.

The concert series created would be 10 concerts held on consecutive weeks.

“We think that would be a tremendous draw to our area,” Manley said. “Music is so hot nowadays. Music festivals are drawing such huge crowds.”

Manley used the Garden Gate Festival as an example, adding that 3,000 people attended the daylong event in Huntingburg this year.

The concerts in the Unroofed series are spaced out, with one concert each month.

Jazz vocalist Nikki Michelle Elias and her band will perform a variety of songs from artists such as Norah Jones, Adele, The Temptations, Etta James and Marvin Gaye on Saturday afternoon.

“She has this absolutely gorgeous voice,” Manley said.

The second concert in the series will be Friday, June 24. The Studebakers band, which plays classic rock with a touch of country music fit for dancing, will perform from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“It will be a more upbeat, after-five concert,” Manley said.

The last concert will be Island Breeze, a vocal band that uses steel pans, keyboards, guitar and island percussion to play a variety of music from artists such as Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Harry Belefonte and the Beach Boys. Island Breeze will perform Saturday, July 16, from 4 to 7 p.m.

“I can’t remember last time we had island music in our area,” Manley said.

Food will be available for purchase; wine and beer area will also be sold. Those who are old enough to purchase alcohol will have a special wristband to do so, Manley said. No coolers will be allowed into the concert.

All proceeds will go to Redevelop Old Jasper Action Coalition. Donation jars will be placed in the area for those who would like to give to ROJAC.

“When I look at the Riverwalk, the mill, the depot (all ROJAC projects),” Manley said, “it’s amazing all that ROJAC has done for our community. So we’re really trying to support ROJAC with this.”

Manley said the concerts themselves are free and families are welcome.

“Come out,” he said. “And bring 100 of (your) closest friends.”