In the June 17 edition of the Extra, an article on summer concerts said that Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will play at the Loudoun Summer Music Fest. Jett will not be appearing as part of the fest. (Published 7/8/04)
A group seeking to become Loudoun County's largest charity is organizing a new series of outdoor concerts this summer, a sign, county officials say, of greater demand for entertainment among a growing population.
The Loudoun Foundation said it hopes to raise $500,000 through its Loudoun Summer Music Fest, nine Sunday evening concerts at the Belmont Country Club in Ashburn. Catering to the demographics of the area -- a large number of well-to-do residents in their thirties and forties -- the foundation is bringing in such bands and performers from the 1970s and '80s as Little River Band, Jefferson Starship and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
"This is nostalgia for that age group," said Tracey Parent, an Ashburn real estate agent who founded Loudoun Foundation in February with her husband, Keith, an airline manager for NetJet. "They're all groups that we grew up with but don't hear on the radio."
The Parents' initial plan behind the Loudoun Foundation was to raise money for an after-school music program for county children. They came up with the idea while seeking electric guitar lessons for their 9-year-old son.
"Kids play an instrument in school and never touch it again," said Parent, who said she envisions a program that teaches music appreciation and helps children apply their new skills to everyday life at home and at school. "This isn't something that you do for one period during school."
Twenty percent of the proceeds from the concerts will go toward the youth music program, organized by Parent and local music teachers. The program is scheduled to begin next spring. The remaining profits from ticket sales ($10 for adults, free for children younger than 12), sponsorships and concession sales will go to the Loudoun Free Clinic; the Good Shepherd Alliance, which operates homeless shelters; and Special Love, which organizes camps for young cancer patients and their families. Proceeds from the concert that raises the most money will be distributed among other local nonprofits.
Parent said that America Online Inc. donated $60,000 and volunteers to help the Loudoun Summer Music Fest take off and that Richmond-based Arc-1 Media provided $100,000 for Web site and logo design.
"We're seeing what's going on in our back yard and giving it a leg up," said Rich D'Amato, AOL vice president for community investment, adding that most of the company's employees live in the area. "It's a true community investment."
"We're seeing with the explosion in our population a greater demand for entertainment," said Martha Mason Semmes, coordinator of Main Street Loudoun, a county program that helps towns enhance their downtowns and business community.
Semmes said that in addition to such events as the Bluemont Concert Series, a longtime summer tradition in Loudoun and Fauquier counties and surrounding communities, and the Loudoun Symphonic Winds free outdoor concerts, several newcomers to the local entertainment scene have taken off quickly. For example, the monthly bluegrass jams at the Round Hill Arts Center that began last August now attract about 300 people, and Leesburg's Acoustic on the Green, which is offering free concerts on Saturday evenings this summer, drew more than 50 people to its first event Saturday.
Although both the Loudoun Summer Music Fest and Bluemont concerts will be held Sundays, Parent said she did not see them competing for the same audience.
"We definitely don't have any of the same music," she said. "Some people are going to be in the mood to go to the Bluemont Concert Series, and some people are going to be geared up for a different experience."
Semmes agreed. "I expect Bluemont to be just as successful in what they've done for years."
Dorri O'Brien Morin, the Loudoun County government's business ambassador, said entertainment options not only enhance the quality of life for residents but can also help lure businesses attracted to a community with a vibrant cultural scene.
The summer Bluemont Concert Series will begin Sunday on the Leesburg courthouse lawn. Its 25th season will open with Almost Recess, a Washington a cappella group. Other concerts will feature bluegrass, folk, salsa, Caribbean, rhythm and blues, Celtic, rock, soul, jazz, calypso, reggae, country and more. Concerts also will be held in Middleburg and Warrenton.
"We want to touch as many parts of the community as possible," said Peter Dunning, president and artistic director of the Bluemont Concert Series. "There's lots of room for good, quality music."
The Loudoun Summer Music Fest will begin July 18 with a yet-to-be announced act. A complete list of performers is scheduled to be released tomorrow.