Showcasing the music

By Scott Graves, Pilot staff writer July 14, 2010 05:00 am

Steve Knudson of Brookings dances with granddaughter Jena James of Carmel, Calif., while Stagelights House Band performs at Azalea Park on Sunday. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting
Four local bands and one visiting from North Dakota performed for an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 300 people at Azalea Park Sunday.

“The event was a tremendous success. I’m very happy with the turnout,” said concert organizer Gordon Later.

The event, billed as the Stagelights Community Music Showcase, was part of the American Music Festival’s series of summer concerts in the park. 

Sunday’s event was a fundraiser for Stagelights Musical Arts Community (, a non-profit group that spotlights local musicians and provides education and outreach opportunities to people of all ages interested in the musical arts, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Sunday’s concert netted $395 in donations that will be used to fund Stagelights projects such as a free/low-cost music lesson program for all ages, a summer youth music academy, and a community youth choir.

“This is our biggest fundraiser yet,” said Stagelights’ chair Kim Banfield. “The community really came out and supported all the local musicians. It was wonderful.” 

Each band played a 30-minute set of music with brief breaks between acts. Several concertgoers danced on the lawn in front of the stage as the rest of the crowd relaxed in lawn chairs and on blankets, eating picnic lunches or food items purchased at the Brookings-Harbor Rotary Club Snack Shack.

Performing on stage under the bandshell were bluegrass band Crabgrass, acoustic rock band SnapShot, the all-volunteer Stagelights House Band, folk guitarists Billie Ruth Furuichi, and classic rock band Rockaway.

Following the local bands was Slave to the Mushroom Cloud, a North Dakota-based trio that ended the concert with a blistering set of punk-based rock and roll. 

Photos and live recordings of the concert can be found at the Pilot’s music blog

Upcoming American Music Festival concerts at the park are:

July 25: Craig Allen Blues Band.

Aug. 1: Rockaway (classic rock).

Aug. 15: Deadwood Revival (newgrass).

Aug. 29: Sans Prophet (classic rock).

Sept. 12: Tsunami Swing Band.

Sept. 19:  Sweet Town Little (country rock).