It gets bigger and better every summer.
Lunchtime’s Fridays by the Fountain kicks up again at the Jon R. Hunt Plaza in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center on June 7 with twice as many bands performing on an expanded schedule that stretches through August.
Fans of such local music acts as Kennedy’s Kitchen, Billy “Stix” Nicks and The Whistle Pigs can thank area businesses and two radio stations whose financial and promotional support helped the City of South Bend to expand the popular music series to every Friday throughout the summer this year from its previous every-other-week schedule.
“This year we have had increased interest from more sponsors,” Mary Ellen Smith, assistant director of administration and marketing for the Morris, says.
WNSN-FM (Sunny 101.5) and WNDU-TV (Ch. 16.1) are promoting the noon-time concerts.
“This has been going on since 2001,” Smith says. “Because it has been ongoing for so many years, there’s just a lot of interest in downtown activities now.”
Duke Tumatoe will kick off the series June 7.
Local Irish folkies Kennedy’s Kitchen takes the stage June 14, followed by local Motown favorite Billy “Stix” Nicks,” June 21; Jetta and the Jellybeans, June 28; Terry & the Heartbeats, July 5; the Douglas Jones Band, July 12; the Unraveling String Band, July 19; and Top Secret, July 26.
Velvet Jones starts the August portion of the series Aug. 2, followed by The Snyders, Aug. 9; the winner of Real Country’s Budweiser Country Star Contest, Aug. 16; The Whistle Pigs, Aug. 23; and a summer-ending show performed by musicians from Indiana University South Bend’s Raclin School of Arts on Aug. 30.
The series is also sponsored by Downtown South Bend (DTSB), which will join forces with Fridays by the Fountain and provide tables from the organization’s own lunchtime concert series a few blocks up the street from the fountain.
“We’re in collaboration with them,” Smith says, “so we don’t have two competing concerts on Friday.”
Food vendors will be on hand to sell such items as pizza, sandwiches, snacks and beverages.
Or, you can “brown bag it,” Smith says. “It’s not like they have to come and buy food there.
“People are welcome to bring a sack lunch, their own chairs, relax and spread blankets on the lawn.”
The concerts are free, open to the public, and run from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.