First Fridays going virtual this weekend

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Crawfordsville Main Street’s summer concert series is going virtual for the Independence Day weekend.

The organization will kick off the season’s First Fridays events with a livestreamed performance by Michael Kelsey & Friends. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Friday on the Crawfordsville Main Street Facebook page and will also be recorded for later viewing.

Main Street’s lineup of musical acts was booked for the year when the coronavirus pandemic hit, forcing organizers to make a new plan for entertaining socially-distanced music lovers. Kelsey had been set to take the Pike Place stage in July.

The group worked with local audio technician Matt Cunningham from Smartpig Recording & Sound and Ryan Heimbach from Amber Waves of Sound to turn the performance into a virtual event.

“Those two working together were able to engineer everything for our Facebook Live event and to make it an enjoyable experience,” Main Street program manager Sue Lucas said.

Kelsey, a Lafayette native, began his multi-genre solo career after performing with area bands and running a recording studio. He’s shared the stage with Santana and Eric Clapton and makes regular appearances at Main Street events.

First Fridays is set to return to Pike Place in August. Pavel & Direct Contact is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 7. The Latin Jazz and Salsa ensemble includes jazz and studio artists, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra members and international musicians. The group has performed with Ray Charles, Kenny G, Patti LaBelle and other nationally-acclaimed artists.

Admission is free. The schedule is subject to change.

“If we do have it at Pike Place, we will be sure to frame in there social distancing for folks. Fortunately, it’s a nice big space, and I think we can do that,” Lucas said.

Main Street’s other signature summertime event, Lunch on the Plaza, returns to Marie Canine Plaza July 17 with alternative rock and soul band Sheeza. Guests are encouraged to bring a carryout lunch from a downtown restaurant to the plaza.

Social distancing will be observed and hand sanitizer, a hand-washing station and free face masks will be available.

Lunch on the Plaza continues Aug. 21 with Sharon McKnight and Sept. 18 with Josie Beach.

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