Shire City Sessions wraps up four-concert series at The Common
PITTSFIELD — The Common was a rockin' Monday evening as Shire City Sessions wrapped up a solid second season of outdoor concerts at the First Street city park.
The finale of the four-night music series opened with Berkshire-based Transmitters followed by the jazzy sound of Kat Wright and Indomitable Soul Band from Burlington, Vt.
After summer rainstorms forced the first two concerts inside the Zion Lutheran Church next door — keeping attendance down — the last two shows were a midsummer night's dream for lead organizers Alan Bauman of CompuWorks and Bill Hines, co-managing director at Interprint.
The two Pittsfield businessmen were thrilled to see what they had hoped for; hundreds of people of all ages spread across the green grass on blankets or in lawn chairs enjoying food, drink and live music.
"Last week and this week has been a great turnout — kind of what we had expected," Hines said.
"It felt like we had 400 on the lawn last week, which was as good as our best show last year," Bauman noted.
Shire City Sessions debuted last year in the parking lot at Shire City Sanctuary on Melville — hence the concert series name. Organizers saw The Common as a good move, offering a more spacious, natural venue with a pavilion courtesy of the park's multimillion facelift completed in 2014.
"It's the perfect kind of event for this venue," said Scott Kirchner of Mad Macs, another concert series sponsor.
"Perfect Monday night event," added his wife, Bonnie Hoskeer-Kirchner joined by the couple's daughters Layla and Isla.
The free all-ages concert series opened July 25 bringing original music from regional bands on the cusp of stardom and Berkshire-based musical groups to the downtown.
The schedule worked with the first two Mondays being the off-days for the Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park theater series that completed a three-week run Aug. 7. The community Shakespeare initiative also elected to switch venues last summer, from its debut home of Springside Park, to take advantage of the newly renovated and revitalized recreational green space.
The set of this year's play "The Tempest," along with the lighting, remained up to provide an elevated stage for the bands that the audience could clear see and hear.
Concert-goers Monday night ranged from children of the '60s to 21st-century youngsters like best buddies Will Kinne and Walker Abdallah of Pittsfield.
"I like being with my friends here and listening to the band," Kinne said.
Food and beverages, including beer, were for sale while others brought their own spread to consume.
The concert series is the latest in a growing lineup of established events at The Common.
Other live events previously held in the park have included performances by The Eagles concert band and symphony,"Raise the Woof" to benefit for Berkshire Humane Society and live at the Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market.
The theater/live music partnership has hopefully laid the foundation for similar ventures at the First Street park, according to Jen Glockner, Pittsfield's cultural development director.
"I think Shire City Sessions has been a great addition to The Common and a very cool collaboration with Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park to use its stage on the off nights of the performance," Glockner said. "It's also been a great way to showcase some amazing original music produced by regional bands and get people out of the house on a Monday night."
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233
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