The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

May 10, 2013

Summer Breeze offers months of free, live music

NORMAN — Live music, a park and an audience. It’s all Performing Arts Studio’s Summer Breeze concert series needs to succeed.

With over a decade of free, well-attended outdoor performances under their belt, Nancy McClellan, founder of Summer Breeze and PAS volunteer, said this year’s eight-concert series, kicking off May 19, will continue to be a crowd-pleaser.

“It’s just simple, basic fun,” she said.

This year’s Sunday night concerts bring a cast of talented musicians throughout the summer, including: John Fullbright, The Gourds, Parker Millsap, Mike Hosty Duo, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Honeylark, Elephant Revival and Byron Berline Band.

Mark McClellan, Summer Breeze chair and Nancy’s son, said the range of music — Americana, alternative country, zydeco, folk, bluegrass and more — paired with the relaxed, outdoor atmosphere is appealing for many audience members.

“It’s more relaxed. It’s not an ordeal like a three-day festival can be. It’s more like wander up and sit down and have a nice relaxing evening,” he said. “There’s no braving the heat of the day because they’re playing about the time the sun goes down. It’s more of a little community, neighborhood thing.”

That’s a large part of the music series’ appeal, Nancy said — the small-town feel. Many bring the whole family with blankets and a picnic dinner to enjoy the evening.

Mark agreed.

“It’s got a local flavor. The one thing that makes it different than probably any other festival is it’s strictly music,” he said. “We don’t have food trucks, we don’t have merch sellers, other than the bands selling their own things. The focus is strictly on the music and not the event itself.”

The concerts first began as an off-shoot of the Firehouse Art Center’s Midsummer Night’s Fair in 2000. Shortly afterwards, the newly formed PAS took over the series.

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