All the fun is downtown this weekend.
Brown Bag Concert
Chet Lowther and Andy Park headline the Charleston Area Alliance’s Brown Bag Concert 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 in Davis Park. Attendees are encouraged to stop by a participating Downtown Charleston restaurant, grab a “brown bag” takeaway lunch special and make their way to Davis Park for the free lunchtime concert. The Alliance collaborates with the American Federation of Musicians Local 136 Appalachian Artists Performance Fund to present the concerts each month May through October.
Downtown Charleston ArtWalk returns Thursday, July 21 with more than 20 participating venues. This free self-guided walking tour of Charleston’s participating shops that are located along Quarrier, Capitol and Lee streets in Downtown Charleston feature a variety of art – from paintings and sculptures to photography and music. Attendees can stroll along at their own pace, dip in and out of stores and stop off along the way for a bite to eat at a downtown restaurant. This well-loved family-friendly event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. and attracts art aficionados as well as folks who just want to get out and try something new.
Live on the Levee
Friday night Haddad Riverfront Park comes alive for the Moses Automotive Live on the Levee concert with indie-rock band Ona with The Horse Traders. The Horse Traders start the night off at 6:30pm. The Horse Traders refer to themselves as dealers in songs and stories. They are a product of the hills of WV and can be found on any given night trading songs, instruments and verses as they play their hand quilted brand of Southern Americana Rock & Roll.
The headliner, Ona, takes the stage 7:30pm. Ona is an indie-rock band from Huntington, WV and is a small sliver of unincorporated ridges, creeks, and floodplains. It sprawls across Route 60 on its southern border and stretches up like a thick thumb almost reaching the Ohio River. It's home to one stop light, an Exxon, and a consolidated high school. Driving out its roads, you snake through shadowy hollows past rural suburbia. People's homes are tucked here and there where the folds of the land permit. A community of private property. Mortgaged acres. You'll see some trailers. You'll see some estates. You'll see a dog with one eye. You'll see the Beulah Ann Baptist Church.
Ona makes songs that take place in these spaces. Bradley Jenkins and Zack Owens write about passions slamming into roadblocks. They write about longing, resentment, searching, and waiting. They are backed by a tight rock and roll band comprised of Zach Johnston, Max Nolte, and Brad Goodall. The five of them create music that pulses and buzzes and echoes and rolls. It feels like standing with sweat in your eyes in grass up to your knees. It feels like getting your tennis shoes wet walking along the banks of the river. It feels like catching a buzz off a bottle your buddy stole from his brother and skipping track practice. It feels like taking a long walk into the trees when you can still hear them arguing inside the house.
Nobody in Ona is a millionaire. Everybody in Ona has to work in the morning.
Closing out the week is the Charleston Area Alliance's Downtown Streetfest 4:30 – 9 p.m. Saturday, July 23 along Capitol Street with John Inghram’s Slugfest. The free block party features live music, interactive entertainment, food and drinks, kid's activities and pop-up shops. Tables and chairs are setup along the street for guests to enjoy take-away food from local restaurants, catch up with friends over some cold beverages and listen to the free live music.