Jay concert series draws community together

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JAY — The summer concert series has drawn a good number of people to the French Falls Recreation Area since it began in June, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said Tuesday.

Matt and the Barnburners will perform at the last concert of the season at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. The the recreation area is at the end of French Falls Lane, off Route 4. The road runs beside the Knights of Columbus Hall.

The concerts are free with donations accepted. Local businesses have also stepped forward to help sponsor the events.

In the spring, “the town’s Recreation Committee began discussing activities to offer the community during the summer,” LaFreniere said. “Music in the Park was started as a way to bring people to French Falls and to offer a fun event that could pull the community together.”

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The town entered into a 40-year lease on the recreation area in 2015, which is next to the Androscoggin River, for $1 a year with the Androscoggin Land Trust. Community members have reclaimed trails along the river and enhanced the area. 

More than 200 people have attended the first three monthly concerts with the biggest draw being Crash Road band, with about 100 attendees. The series has also brought in more than $300 in donations, LaFreniere said.

The last concert will highlight Matt and The Barnburners debut CD, “Feel the Heat,” that was released in July at the North Atlantic Blues Festival. The band has been together for a decade and are two-time winners of The Maine Blues Society’s Road to Memphis competition.  Matt and The Barnburners have represented Maine twice at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, according to information provided by LaFreniere.

Resident Justin Merrill has donated his flatbed trailer as a stage for each concert. Several sponsors have supported the events, including Spruce Mountain Pharmacy, Kachnovich Land Surveying, Thomas C. Goding Building Contractors, AMVETS, and Tim DeMillo.

The sponsors and donations have allowed the Recreation Committee to offer the concerts for free, LaFreniere said.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

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