When most people think of Pendleton King Park, newcomers to the area probably know it best for disc golf or the dog park. Long-time Augusta residents will probably remember a much seedier past — but that is all changing. Pendleton King Park is establishing a reputation for being a place for families to go and the Spring Fever Jazz Series is another step in that direction.
Max Williams, one of the organizers for the jazz series, grew up playing in Pendleton King Park as a child and hates that so many events have begun moving out to Columbia County, he said. He started the spring concert series as a way to give people a family event that takes place in town, and also as a way to get people to see how much the park has improved over the years.
“What we’re trying to do is get more people out to the park,” Williams said. “I feel like there have been a lot of great strides toward improving the park, particularly in the last five or 10 years, and when I talk to people about the park a lot of people still have kind of a stigma as far as the way the park was 10 years ago. This is really an attempt to get folks out and expose them to the park so they can see all the work that we’ve done and all the amenities that we have now. It’s about awareness, really.”
The first show of the series occurred Friday, March 14, and featured a performance by Karen Gordon, who also seems very excited about bringing a family event to Pendleton King Park.
“I like that it’s in a neighborhood,” Gordon said. “It’s in a residential area and, for the past year or so, I’ve been looking at bringing concerts to where people are and to their neighborhoods where there’s already a built-in community.”
Gordon is passionate about people from all walks of life having easy access to the arts, especially children. She loves seeing children respond to the music and show an interest, and feels that events like this are important since schools have cut so many arts programs. It’s a way to introduce children to music that they may not be exposed to anywhere else.
Williams thinks the series is a good event for families to kick off the weekend and encourages everyone to come out.
“We’re really trying to set it up as kind of a ‘It’s Friday, get out of work, bring a cooler, bring some chairs, and hang out and listen to some music before you get started on your Friday night,’” Williams said.
He also pointed out that the venue would be perfect for those looking for something to do before hitting the restaurants on Central Avenue or going downtown for a date night.
Williams also mentioned that he hopes spring concert series is only the beginning for events at Pendleton King Park. He is in the process of coordinating some other concerts in the summer and hopes to continue the jazz series in the fall.
All concerts are held in the Franke Pavilion and tickets are $5. All proceeds benefit Pendleton King Park.
Spring Fever Jazz Series
Friday nights at Pendleton King Park’s Frank Pavilion
March 28: JAMP Masters (James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils)
April 4: Bill Karp + Ke-Ju
April 18: Tom Rogers + Chris Hardy