Carlson reflects on 2015 Friday Night Concert season

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Another season of music in the downtown area is winding down.

Ralph Carlson, organizer of the weekly Friday Night Concert Series sponsored by the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Friday concert will be the last show of the season for the concert series, which began in May. The series, which is free and open to the public, typically runs through October each year.

"I feel that the summer season has really gone well," Carlson said. "We have had exceptional talent perform for us."

The concerts typically take place each Friday night at the Heritage Park Pavilion at the corner of First and Main streets. Sometimes, the time and venue for the concert are changed due to bad weather. Occasionally during the season, the concerts are cancelled or moved to other dates due to other entertainment taking place in the area. Sometimes, the shows tie into other local events.

Carlson said he receives help from some of the concert series' regular performers in setting up equipment for each weekly show. He said he also wanted to commend the FSACC, city officials and the Bourbon County Garden Club for their efforts in making the concert series happen. The city and chamber provide the venue while the garden club maintains planters in the park which lend to the ambiance for the shows.

Carlson said he is constantly impressed with volunteer efforts and the sense of "community spirit" in the area.

"The chamber provides the sound system and helps with special events that might relate to the music concerts," he said. "The Bourbon County Garden Club maintains the premises; it's just perfect all the time. For a town the size of Fort Scott, it's almost unbelievable we have such volunteerism. These ladies (with the garden club) must work hard to keep the flower beds in shape."

The concerts, a weekly tradition since 2007, are typically well-attended, with an average attendance this season of about 125 per show. Over the years, the concerts have become a time to not just enjoy a variety of musical styles, but also a time for people to come together and socialize. Many people enjoy the music from other spots in the downtown area, Carlson said.

"I've seen shows in the past where I counted over 300 people," he said. "It's sometimes more and sometimes less depending on the weather. I've seen people sitting on the benches and sitting in their cars just listening."