Canyon Acoustic Series begins tonight

Six Mile Road kicks off the six-week Canyon Acoustic Series from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the band shell in Spearfish City Park. The family-friendly outdoor series features area acoustic musicians, food and beverage vendors, and a bounce castle for children. Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — There’s a new weekly outdoor music series in Spearfish: Canyon Acoustic Series runs from 6-8 p.m. each Wednesday at the band shell in Spearfish City Park.

“It’s a quieter, family-oriented event in our park where we have a lot of space for kids to come down and run around and get exposed to some local acoustic musicians,” Jake Jackson, one of the event organizers, said. He is also a member of Six Mile Road, the bluegrass, Americana, folk band that kicks off the first of the series tonight.

The event runs for six weeks, and its schedule includes the music of Jami Lynn on July 8; the Lyle Berry Band on July 15; Steve Thorpe on July 22; Lang Termes on July 29; and Down The Road on Aug. 5. Sponsors for the event include Crow Peak Brewery, Wells Fargo, Dana Dental, Auto Choice, Nelson Chiropractic, Leavitt Heartland Insurance, and Quik Signs.

Zac Eixenberger, one of the organizers, explained that the event scheduled for the middle of the week is geared toward a quieter evening, with no drums in the lineup. In addition to the music, there will be local food and beverage vendors, including brick-oven pizza, ice cream, kettle corn, and more, as well as a bounce castle for children. Profits from beverage sales will benefit the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives through the Booth Society during this year’s series.

April Gregory, executive director of the Booth Society, said that the organizers’ decision to raise awareness for and benefit the hatchery is “humbling and outstanding … another example of how much the community really does love the hatchery,” she said. Gregory added that on behalf of the society’s board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services employees at the hatchery, she couldn’t begin to express their gratitude enough, since they realize there are a lot of other worthy nonprofits in Spearfish that the organizers could have chosen.

“I am continuously floored by the amount of support that people are willing to give and donate to this facility,” Gregory said.

The setting of the series in the park right next to the hatchery works well to direct visitors there, she added, and Booth Society board members will staff an informational table at each Wednesday event to answer questions and provide information about the hatchery, its programs, and upcoming events. The timing couldn’t have been better, she added: In the coming weeks, the Booth Society will be starting another letter-writing campaign to congressional representatives, in the face of federal hatchery closure threats. In the summer of 2012, the historic fish hatchery was one of several nationwide that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intended to close due to budget constraints, and though the hatchery has thus far escaped closure, only short-term budget securements have been provided. Gregory added that since the closure threats started, the Spearfish hatchery has lost five out of its six federal employees. While the Booth Society has two employees, anything that the community can do, like the advocacy efforts garnered through the Canyon Acoustic Series, goes a long way in helping the organization raise awareness to keep the facility operating, she said.

Organizers hope to spread that ability to support area needs. The Canyon Acoustic Series is the first event put on by Spread the Tunes, a recently organized nonprofit, with other events to follow in the future, Eixenberger said.

“It will be nice to see everything we’ve been working towards come together,” Jackson said. He is looking forward to bringing the community together for an event that’s a “little different flavor” to fill a need for a different type of entertainment and hopes it will evolve into another of the community’s signature events.

“I think it’s going to be really good,” Jackson said. “We’ve just had a lot of really good response.”

Eixenberger said that he is most looking forward to getting more exposure for local artists, and the organizers hope that the event can continue supporting different organizations in future years and support additional types of art, in addition to acoustic music, as well.

Everyone is invited to the park this evening and encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the outdoor music in the park.

For more information, visit the Canyon Acoustic Series Facebook page. Eixenberger added that the organizers are working to get a website up and running soon, and on that site will be applications for local/regional artists for next summer’s series.

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