Summer in Highland might sound a little bit different if Aquanetta Wright has anything to do with it. Newburgh’s very own Ferry Godmother is producing the “Highland Pop, Rock & Doowop Series,” which will liven up Village Field every Thursday night in July and August.
The Ferry Godmother and Supervisor Paul Hansut held a press conference at Village Field last week to announce the summer music series and to drum up sponsorship support from local businesses in Lloyd.
“I actually like the fact that we’re in the exact location that we’re going to bring the concerts,” Wright said. “We want, not just the outsiders to come and enjoy some great music, but we want the people who are residents here — your neighbors. We want to be able to just come and relax, to sit down and enjoy an evening. And you know that it’ll be there.”
It seems clear that the town and musical maven want the Pop, Rock & Doowop Series to stay. The woman who once took to Newburgh’s waterfront in ballgowns, neon wigs and fairy wings told her crowd they could count on the concerts as a regular Thursday-night event.
“We definitely are going to create a sustainable event. We will be here every year. That is the goal,” she said.
Supervisor Hansut said he thought events could help turn the focus back to the Hamlet of Highland, bringing attention to the downtown.
“When I decided to run for supervisor, one of our focuses was on bringing entertainment, bringing events back to the village,” he said. “And I think this is our start.”
Starting on July 5, the concerts will last until the end of August and will feature live music. They’ll run from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m.
“Our hope is, is that we’re going to draw folks from Orange, Dutchess, Ulster — all over the area to come to our village, listen to some great music and patronize our businesses downtown,” Hansut added.
The concerts will be free and open to anyone in the public. Musicians would be paid for through sponsorships by local businesses, which in return would get prominent ad displays and onstage mentions throughout the concerts.
As the Ferry Godmother — so named for the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry boat — Wright has helped put together the successful Newburgh Jazz Series. After five years, that event outgrew the small park on Front Street and the promoter started looking for new venues. Those concerts are moving to Montgomery, but keeping the Newburgh name.
With the Highland shows, Wright is trying something different by playing nostalgic music from days gone by — albeit something she hopes will resound with people ages 35 to 85.
For more information or to become a sponsor, call (225) 366-2442 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ++