During the summer months in Roseburg, 7 p.m. Tuesdays is Music on the Half Shell time. The upcoming series of events will range from folk to funk and from bluegrass to classical.
Music enthusiasts from near and far have been coming to the Nichols Band Shell in Stewart Park to see outstanding free performances every week from June to August for the last 26 years.
“Music on the Half Shell is such a broad-based concert series, there’s something there for everybody,” Clint Newell, president of the Half Shell Committee, said at a kick-off event Wednesday evening.
This season the concert series begins on June 27 and continues on Tuesdays until Aug. 15. A special event venue change is scheduled for July Fourth when the Music on the Half Shell performance will be held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds amphitheater.
The concert series will open on June 27 with a double feature — solo artists Sara Watkins and Longhorne Slim.
Watkins is a fiddler/vocalist, who also plays guitar and ukulele. She’s played with Nickel Creek and the Decemberists. Her style is bluegrass, folk and country.
Longhorne Slim played with the War Eagles and the Law, playing a rock-folk-pop hybrid.
“We’re bringing in music that a lot of people haven’t heard before and that they’re not going to see nearby,” Newell said.
New this year is a partnership between Music on the Half Shell and several local organizations to bring a full day of free events for the whole family to the Douglas County Fairgrounds on July 4. There’ll be music all afternoon and into the evening. The Great Umpqua Food Truck Competition is scheduled for 2 p.m. A fireworks show is slated for after dusk.
“For the first time ever, Music on the Half Shell will not be at the Nichols Band Shell in Stewart Park,” Newell said. “That is the only night it will be at the fairgrounds; all other shows will be at Stewart Park.”
The July Fourth Half Shell Show will kick off its first performance with the Polyrhythmics on stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.. This Seattle eight-piece Afro-beat horn-driven funk orchestra fuses world sounds with unique arrangements.
After a short break, the main July Fourth show will be Booker T. and the Stax Review, taking the audience on a journey through blues, soul and rhythm and blues. The show culminates with fireworks over the nearby South Umpqua River.
On July 11, the Half Shell returns to Stewart Park for the rest of the season with Los Angeles based musician ZZ Ward from Glide. She will play original tunes.
“She’s a red hot artist right now, who’s on the evening talk shows and appears in major venues across the country. We’re glad to have her back,” Newell said.
July 18 will see the Southern Avenue Band from Memphis, a gospel-influenced rhythm and blues quintet, that’s new to the music scene.
“They are Memphis blues from top to bottom,” Newell said.
The Eugene Symphony returns on July 25 after performing a successful pops concert at the Half Shell last year. The Douglas County Youth Orchestra will open the concert again.
“It was a great evening last year,” Newell said. “It’s a nice departure for us when we go down the road with classical music.”
On Aug. 1, the New Breed Brass Band from New Orleans will infuse funk, jazz, rock and hip hop in the second line brass band tradition. This band is managed by Trombone Shorty who’s played at the Half Shell before.
Aug. 8 will see a different show with two guitar trios: the California Guitar Trio and the Montreal Guitar Trio. This show features six guitarists from four countries with more than 40 years of combined experience in a unique six-man acoustic guitar show, playing rock, world, jazz and classical tunes.
“It’s going to be interesting to have the six of them appearing together,” Newell said.
The Aug. 15 Half Shell season finale will see the March Fourth Band, made up of 20 musicians, dancers and artisans who travel the world year round. They’ll come to entertain audiences of all ages with stilt walkers, hoopers and Vaudevillian dancers in this high-energy performance.
“Being a non-ticketed event, it doesn’t cost anything to come to the Half Shell,” Newell said. “It’s in the open park, it’s a beautiful venue, with different types of music that’s very diverse, but good quality in every genre.”