The annual Concert in the Park(ing Lot) series put on by the Bixby Knoll’s Business Improvement Association kicks off another season of grub, amusement and community Monday night in the Georgie’s Place parking lot on Atlantic Avenue.
What started out as a suggestion to BKBIA Executive Director Blair Cohn to direct traffic to lesser known businesses has morphed into an annual series that Cohn says helps activate this portion of the city.
“It’s been very positive,” Cohn said of the community’s response to the event. “People think it's a great way to come together and say, 'Wow, the neighborhood keeps getting better.’ The fun thing for me is when it's close to start time and I see all the people from the four corners of the neighborhood walking up with their kids and chairs.”
The community response to the series which runs from June through September has experienced constant growth and participation from community businesses and residents. The idea of getting people to enjoy music in a parking lot instead of a park as well as getting businesses to collaborate has been process that has become smoother over time according to Cohn.
“The first time we did it there were about 80 people,” Cohn said.”We get close to 200 people every time. I don’t know that we could fit 1,000 or 800 people in the locations we’re using. But if you get about 200 people it’s a hit.”
It’s such a hit that local businesses now contact him to put on the even in their parking lots. Next month’s event is scheduled to be hosted at the southwest corner of the Atlantic and 36th Street. They call and ask “hey, can we do one in our parking lot?” Cohn said of local business owners.
He’s hopeful that the event will continue to flourish this year, helping not only to grow local businesses but also infuse the area with pride while better connecting residents to their neighborhood.
“We’re always trying to connect businesses with the neighborhood and activating,” Cohn said. “The participants are all part of this neighborhood, its hyperlocal and it’s a great way to build community.”
As always, Monday’s event will incorporate Georgie’s, a wine bar, and local bakers and harvesters to create what Cohn describes as a mini-farmer’s market to coincide with the live music played by Hedgehog Swing. People are encouraged to bring a chair, grab something to eat, and enjoy the music.
“These are young guys that are extremely talented,” Cohn said about Hedgehog Swing, a staple at the First Friday events in Bixby Knolls. “Just watching them play guitar will blow your mind. It’s the perfect music to kick off this series.”