Making music in Middlesboro

Published 8:04 am Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This year’s Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series was the most successful one to date, according to organizers. The work to make sure that Middlesboro secures a fourth consecutive grant for the series is well underway by Discover Downtown Middlesboro.

It is important that the community is involved, as online votes are needed to help secure the grant.

Dana Greene of DDM sat down to speak about the success of the series and what great opportunities it could provide for the city of Middlesboro.

“It’s been a real learning process. There are so many details just to put on one show — let alone ten a year. It’s taken so much effort by so many people, much more than you would think. The learning process to pull off the entire series each year is rather lengthy,” said Greene.

From year one to year three, the series has evolved not just with the talent that has performed, but also with the way the venue looks. The park at Fountain Square in Downtown Middlesboro has undergone a massive transformation from an empty gravel lot to an area with grass, benches and a stage designed and constructed by J.R. Hoe and Sons. The stage has also undergone its own improvements to make it more accessible.

“What I hope the public is seeing is the improvement in the space. The stage is really phenomenal…that is a first class stage…the entire space just keeps improving and we want to have even more improvements for next year…the growth of the facility and the improvement of the facility from year to year has been an important change. I think we’re gaining a reputation and the ability to attract good artists has been an improvement,” stated Greene.

Greene went on to state that he feels that the series has caught on with the community and is “rewarding to the soul.”

“I think that if large crowds continue to come to downtown that one night a week, I think that points to real possibilities for meaningful change in Middlesboro,” said Greene.

Greene stated that he personally would love to see Middlesboro become a real destination for live music.

“This area is like an incubator for musicians…there is really some talent here. I would like to a see real live, local music scene bubble up from all of this,” he said.

Levitt Committee Chairperson Bo Hoe stated, “So many people have worked very hard to bring this extraordinary music series back to Middlesboro next year. The response from our community has been overwhelming. It really shows how much the community enjoyed the series this summer. We want everyone to vote for Middlesboro then forward the message on to three friends or colleagues and ask them to do the same. Thanks to everyone who has voted so far.”

The grant application online states, “It is the mission of the Middlesboro Levitt AMP Series to use this love of music as a transformative mechanism to bring people together and to give them hope for a brighter future. By establishing a first-rate music venue and bringing a diverse range of talented performers, people have flocked to our downtown to hear the best live performances they will find anywhere. It brings people of all races and backgrounds out to a common place and has helped us unify under a common theme: pride in our community. This seed of pride is something our town, and our region can grow from.”

Votes are needed, and the voting period ends Nov. 20. To vote for Middlesboro to receive the Levitt AMP Music Series Grant for the fourth year in a row visit: https://grant.levittamp.org/