Summer Concert Series returns May 27

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The calendar has turned to May, which means Downtown Smithfield’s Summer Concert Series is just around the corner.

Fan favorite Bobby BlackHat, a Newport News bluesman, kicks off the 2022 season May 27, the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend.

Concerts will occur weekly through Labor Day weekend on the gazebo stage in front of The Smithfield Times office, affectionately known as “Times Square.”

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In a major change from prior years, concerts this year will begin at 7 p.m. to accommodate families with young children — and, for that matter, seniors with early bedtimes.

Admission will continue to be free, a hallmark of the series founded by Smithfield Times Publisher Emeritus John Edwards.

The concert series is run by the Isle of Wight Arts League, with support from Isle of Wight Tourism, the town of Smithfield and The Smithfield Times.

Heading the 2022 lineup is Summer Concert Series veteran Bobby “BlackHat” Walters, recording artist, harmonica player, vocalist, songwriter, comedian and actor originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He is a retired U.S. Coast Guard commander with 27 years of service.

In 2017, Walters won the nationwide “USAA & We Are The Mighty’s Mission: Music talent competition.” He was also a featured performer at the 50th Anniversary Hampton Jazz Festival. 

In 2016, the Bobby BlackHat Band advanced to the finals of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. He has won two Blewzzy Awards for “Song of the Year.” He was also awarded two 2016 VEER Music Awards for “Best Blues” and “Song of the Year” for “HRBT Blues,” a lament on Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel traffic congestion. 

Walters has released five CDs and has opened for blues legends B.B King, Taj Mahal and Steady Rollin Bob Margolin.

The rest of this year’s lineup is:

  • June 3, Gospel Night with Slater Joel
  • June 10, Kim Person and Lana Puckett, acoustic Americana
  • June 17, Flatland Bluegrass Band
  • June 24, Forte` jazz band
  • July 1, York River Concert Band performing patriotic tunes
  • July 8, Summer Jones Band, 1960s and ’70s classics
  • July 15, Pirate Night children’s show
  • July 22, Motown sounds featuring KSoul
  • July 29, Angela Easterling, upbeat Americana
  • Aug. 5, Zack Salsberry Trio, classic rock and blues
  • Aug. 12, Williamsburg Classic Swing orchestra featuring Smithfield’s own Dru Stowe
  • Aug. 19, Fleet Forces Command military combo
  • Aug. 26, Smithfield Little Theatre variety show
  • Sept. 2, Griffin Lane performing classic country