This summer, Duke Performances pays homage to American roots music with “Music in the Gardens 2017,” a two-month series featuring outdoor performances in Sarah. P Duke Gardens.
Duke staff and faculty receive a half-price discount to each of the eight shows in the series that explores American roots music broadly defined, with an emphasis on local musicians. Tickets are on sale and prices for the series, which runs June 7 through July 26, are $5 for Duke employees and students, $10 general admission, and free for kids 12 and under.
“Live performance is potent, it’s powerful,” said Aaron Greenwald, executive director of Duke Performances, which presents the series. “This is another opportunity to provide something of value to Duke employees.”
Now in its 10th season, the family- and picnic-friendly series features musicians with North Carolina ties, from the magnetic pop music of Durham resident Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes, kicking off the series on June 7, to the classic country sounds of Winston-Salem singer Caleb Caudle, who performs in the last show on July 26. Other performances include the alt-country tunes of Robbie Fulks on June 21; pop-country sounds of Durham native Kym Register’s Loamlands on June 28, and the soft harmonies of Asheville’s River Whyless on July 19. All performances are on Wednesdays and start at 7 p.m.
Finding great North Carolina talent for the series didn’t prove a problem, as the state’s music roots run deep, especially locally, Greenwald said.
“It’s undeniable there’s a rich musical tradition here in the Piedmont,” he said, noting a 20th-century musical timeline that included piedmont blues singers entertaining tobacco farmers in 1930s barbecue joints to a vibrant indie rock scene in the 1980s.
Kerry Harwood, a Director in the Center for Advanced Practice at Duke, has been a regular attendee of “Music in the Gardens.” The Americana focus provides a nice contrast to the internationally themed Duke Performances Harwood sees with her partner Raymond Conroy throughout the academic year with her Duke employee discount. Harwood saw Megafaun, a Durham-based psychedelic folk band, as well as North Carolina bluegrass duo Mandolin Orange play in past Music in the Gardens performances.
“There is nothing better than being outdoors in such a beautiful environment,” Harwood said.
Picnics, blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged at “Music in the Gardens.” Meals and beverages, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase from The Palace International. Frozen treats will be available from Locopops. Alcohol is permitted; dogs are not.
Parking at the Duke Gardens lots is free after 5 p.m., and the lawn opens 30 minutes prior to each show.
For tickets, visit call (919) 684-4444 or visit Duke Performances online or go to the Duke University Box Office.