Published on July 9th, 2020 | by TLV News1
“Tunes Around Town – Walking Festival” Social Distancing Live Music Festival is Saturday, July 11 in Oxford, Mississippi
How to hold a festival during a pandemic: Leave the brainstorming and innovation to two people who have a love of Lafayette County.
Tim Burkhead and Danielle Smith, both who grew up here and came back to be with family during the pandemic, wanted to use their professional skills to help those feeling isolated and support local musicians and businesses. Their concept: a walking festival that uses the natural beauty of the streets, the open spaces, and great destinations as part of the experience.
The two outlined the idea of how to host a safe socially distanced festival to the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and Visit Oxford, who recognized testing this idea could offer an experience that is part summer-outdoor music and art.
Working with local musicians, the pair created a walking festival. Each artist performs short sets to prevent clustering. As one small solo or duo performance ends the next one down the block begins, allowing participants to walk The Square, grab an ice cream, have a soundtrack to shopping, or be entertained while waiting for a table.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, 2020 from 6–8 pm and will stretch from the front patio of Spring Street Cigars around The Square to the North Lamar Restaurant District. The event features performances of various music styles from jazz to pop along with surprises such as a Pop-Up Art Show and Street Magic. The event is free but Burkhead and Smith hope attendees will donate to support local music. This initial kick off event was made possible through donations from Mike Overstreet Properties, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and Visit Oxford.
The opportunity to create an event that supports local artists and businesses while encouraging walking appealed to both the Arts Council and Visit Oxford. The town organizations have been exploring how to promote safe social interaction this summer, and a walking festival added the bonus of highlighting local businesses.
Tunes Around Town will feature mini performances at Spring Street Cigars and Pop Up Art Show, live music at the Plaza next to City Hall, a Walk-By Art Show at Southside Gallery, Pop-Up Art and Porch Concert at Visit Oxford, a Pandemic Playlist at End of All Music, Street Magic and Music at the Breezeway by Uptown Coffee & The Growler, and a sidewalk concert at Snackbar.
The organizers hope this pilot of the idea creates a regular experience that provides opportunities for local artists while enhancing the community. The event is free and family friendly.