Lower Bricktown Live
8-10 p.m. Friday, through Aug. 16
Lower Bricktown Plaza
115 E. Reno
That’s been the plan since the series’ inception in 2010.
According to Dot Rhyne, executive producer of the Chevy Music Showcase, developers and managers of lower Bricktown wanted to create some sort of activity that would help lure foot traffic during the summer months.
“And they were making noise about doing some kind of outdoor concert,” Rhyne said.
As a result, Lower Bricktown Live was born, presented by the Oklahoma Chevy Team Dealers and Downtown Oklahoma City Inc.
The concerts, which ran on consecutive Thursday nights for the series’ first three years, proved popular for the most part, Rhyne said. For this year’s 10-show installment, which began June 14, the series has moved to Friday nights at Lower Bricktown Plaza, in an effort to catch more people on their way out from restaurants or Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.
Already, the switch has proven successful.
“It’s really kicking into a great gear this year. [On Thursdays], honestly, we had some hits and misses, and we were up against the Thunder playoffs for the first few shows of last year’s season,” Rhyne said. “Friday’s a busier night. We have a bigger, built-in crowd and Brewer Entertainment stepped up and helped out by loaning us a bigger stage presentation. Our first two shows this year have just been off-the-charts awesome.”
She believes the series has more than done its job in attracting new and returning patrons, because each successive concert grows more crowded.
She attributed this to it being a “different kind of show” compared to other events in the city.
“It’s free, it’s family-friendly, it’s a very comfortable environment. There’s lots to do around the show,” Rhyne said, noting dining, movies and RedHawks baseball games.
“We just catch a lot of that natural Bricktown traffic. But for some people, it’s become a destination event. They bring their lawn chairs and they’ve got the kids in tow and they come specifically for that purpose.”
are excited to be a part of the lineup because, Rhyne said, it’s a
“great way to show off their talent and remind everybody that there is a
very vibrant, healthy music scene. It really adds to the energy of the
Lower 40 lead singer Kyle Earhart agreed and said he’s seen a dramatic rise in his band’s fan base because of the series.
“It gives live bands an opportunity to get their music out there,” he said. “There’s free promotion, free radio commercials. It boosted our likes on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter; it boosted everything. The fact that we get to go downtown, on our own stage, with our own stuff and be able to play our own music for a lot of people we don’t even know, is just an awesome opportunity.”
For Matt Stansberry, scheduled to play the Aug. 16 closing with his band, The Romance, an added bonus exists in branching out and interacting with the crowd in a way that is almost impossible from an indoor stage.
“Any time you get in front of people to play, even if you’ve done it a lot, it’s good to get out and practice your craft,” Stansberry said. “The way that I play, even the stuff that’s rehearsed, I always have a little bit of an improv element to what I do to keep me on my toes. So it’s always writing on the spot, filling in the gaps in places. That’s how I like to play music.
“This particular venue allows me to perform like that in front of a particular audience that I don’t always get in front of, because a lot of it is people passing by and saying, ‘Oh, cool, I wanna check out this music.’ Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it and will come back to see me play someplace different.”
The more opportunities like Lower Bricktown Live available to musicians and the listening public, the more the OKC culture grows, he said.
need more of these types of things. The arts and music of Oklahoma City
is extremely important for a thriving culture. If you get rid of that
stuff, you’ll have a pretty bland town,” Stansberry said. “I think it’s a
sign of how Oklahoma City has grown; people are starting to notice us
on a national and international level. This is just a natural part of
it.” —Louis Fowler
Timing is everything
Lower Bricktown Live has made a change in its fourth consecutive year bringing local music out and entertainment seekers in and around the plaza.
Musicians will perform at 8 p.m., an hour later than in previous series. The change means not only cooler temperatures, but reeling in more weekend traffic to the event, said Jeannette Smith, executive director of Bricktown Association.
“The corner of Mickey Mantle and Reno is really part of the synergy of Bricktown,” Smith said. —Molly Evans