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Welcome back, summer concerts

The slow return to normalcy after “the year of COVID” has its signature moments.

For us at The Smithfield Times, it’s the resumption of the Summer Concert Series on our front lawn. After a COVID-19-forced hiatus in 2020, the Friday night concerts will return on July 2 with Smithfield’s own Forte Jazz Band.

In addition to publishing one of the nation’s finest community newspapers, John and Anne Edwards blessed the community with a quintessential event that will be an enduring legacy thanks to the Isle of Wight County Arts League, under whose auspices the concert series will continue.

John and Anne understood that a community newspaper’s obligation to its town is more than quality journalism, at which they excelled. Paying “civic rent” is also essential, and the Edwardses used the unique setting of the Times property on Main Street to birth and develop an event that exemplifies Smithfield’s charm and artistic spirit.

If you’re a veteran of the concert series, welcome back. You likely share our excitement about the first show in nearly two years. If you’re a newcomer, we join the Arts League in inviting you to come out every Friday evening through Sept. 10.

The July 2 concert (preceding the town’s fireworks show) and Aug. 27 children’s-themed performance by Chris Campbell start at 7 p.m., all others at 8.

Here’s the full lineup:

  • July 2 — Forte
  • July 9 — Bobby Blackhat, blues vocalist, harmonica player and songwriter
  • July 16 — Higher Ground, swing, Latin, jazz and modern big band sounds
  • July 23 — Wmsburg Swing Band, keeping the Big Band tradition alive
  • July 30 — Kim Persons and Lana Puckett, country songwriters and balladeers
  • Aug. 6 — Sounds of Motown
  • Aug. — 13 Fleet Forces Band Combo, featuring performers from the Navy’s Fleet Forces Band
  • Aug. 20 Nu Blu, Americana/mountain music from North Carolina
  • Aug. 27 — Chris Campbell, puppeteer and singer
  • Sept. 3 — Griffin Lane, a local favorite performing classic country
  • Sept. 10 — 70 South, rock and blues