Summertime in Oxford will be in full swing on Sundays in the Grove. The annual Summer Sunset Series is being held free for the public on the university’s campus, providing live music, food, and fun to the community throughout the month of June.
The free concert series is jointly hosted by the University Museum, Visit Oxford, the Chamber of Commerce, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, as well as multiple other organizations in the Oxford area, and is held each Sunday night in June at the Grove stadium on the University of Mississippi campus.
“It really plays into the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere of the summer in Oxford,” said Kinney Ferris, Deputy Director of Visit Oxford. “It’s important to have something free and fun to do and is a great opportunity for parents who are with their kids for orientation and for the local citizens as well. It’s a great event to pack a picnic and have dinner in the Grove with some live music.”
Each Sunday at 6 p.m. a different musical act performs for the local community, sponsored by a local organization in the Oxford area. The concert series has been held for over a decade, and though the sponsors have changed, the idea itself hasn’t.
“The weekly sponsor helps choose the act in conjunction with Visit Oxford, the University Museum, and other organizations as well,” she said. “We try to get a wide variety of bands. Different acts bring out different people, so we try to make sure there’s something for everyone. It’s a laid-back event, you feel like you can just come as you are and make the night what you want it to be. It’s a simple idea, but it’s grown in popularity over the years and has really helped foster a good sense of community.”
The series began Sunday, June 10, with a performance by the Blackwater Trio of Clarksdale. Consisting of two guitars and a violin, this folk rock-inspired trio blends the spectrum between electric and acoustic music, offering an energetic show featuring covers of old classics to original music.
Alice Hansen, the violinist and vocalist for the group, spoke on the group’s musically diverse background.
“I was classically trained in violin growing up, while Seth [Shroud] used to play in a party band in Nashville before moving to Mississippi and transitioning into acoustic church music. Walt [Busby] on the other hand has a strong background in psychedelic rock, and frequently adds in some of the creativity that makes us unique,” she said. “All of those backgrounds allow us to be flexible, going both directions between acoustic and electric.”
The group has performed in the Summer Sunset Series each year since 2015 and have become a favorite returning act.
“We have loved coming back to Oxford because the town has always been such an appreciative audience,” she said. “We’ve played at Thacker Mountain, listening rooms, as well as local restaurants, and people have remembered us and come out to our other shows, which we love. It’s an art-driven community, and we love when people reach out to have us come back.”
The band’s latest album, Cheshire Moon, will be available at the concert as well.
Later on in the month, the series will host Oxford-natives the Kit Thorn Band on June 17, promising a show that boasts a blues-rock sound. Finishing out the month on June 24 will be Sam Mooney, a #1-selling iTunes singer/songwriter from Brookhaven.