Our View: Despite the heat, Sounds of Summer helps build community




Eleven years ago, when the first Sounds of Summer concert series at the Columbus Riverwalk amphitheater was announced, there was really only one question:


Are you crazy?


Outdoor concerts are great, of course, and the Riverwalk has proven to be a good gathering place for the community. But the idea of holding four mid-week concerts in the heat of a Mississippi summer? Well, you can't blame anyone for having their doubts.



No one is questioning sanity of the concert series now, though. This summer's four-event concert series came to and end Thursday with a performance by The Bouncing Betty. Folks flocked to the Riverwalk well before the two-hour concert started at 7.


It's been that way for years now. Sounds of Summer is a collaboration between the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Columbus. Over the years, the concert has grown, attracting large crowds and better musical lineups. Indeed, the concert series has proven to be a great showcase for local talent and the broad range of styles and genres has been a hallmark of the series.


At a time when free concerts by talented performers is a rarity, Sounds of Summer appeals to folks across all demographics -- black, white, young, old. Retirees set up their lawn chairs next to blankets occupied young parents with their children.


The event has become more than just a concert: It's a place were the community meets and bonds, something all too rare these days.


And thanks to the sponsors and volunteers (C Spire was the presenting sponsor this year) the event has attracted, there are a wide range of food and drink offerings. It has become a part of our summer now and the large crowds seem not at all dissuaded by the heat of a summer's evening.


We do not know precisely what the Sounds of Summer organizers envisioned for the concert series back in 2007.


But we're pretty sure it has exceeded all expectations.




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