Great live music can be found year-round in Loudoun County, but during the steamy summer months, residents and visitors are encouraged outside to lawns, pavilions and gazebos to get their aural fix. And while many summer concert series are staged during the weekend, organizers at One Loudoun are capitalizing on a mid-week option: Acoustic Wednesdays.
Now in its third summer, Acoustic Wednesdays sees the big plaza in front of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema transformed into a concert venue. Most Wednesday evenings from June through August, clusters of families and friends can be seen gathering on blankets, in camp chairs or, if they arrived early enough, posted up comfortably at one of One Loudoun’s umbrella-outfitted tables, enjoying snacks and taking in the chill sounds of a given week’s performer. It’s all designed to deepen community ties, showcase regional talent and, of course, provide fun and free entertainment for all.
“We wanted to tap into the local culture and music scene around One Loudoun,” said Julie Miner Dillon, vice president of marketing for One Loudoun. “All of our musicians love what they do and many take requests. [Acoustic Wednesdays are] very laid back, relaxing and free. It’s a great way to beat the mid-week blues.”
Dillon and her team work with talent scouts from Last Call Entertainment to find an eclectic mix of musicians to fill the Acoustic Wednesdays roster. “We carefully consider the artists we choose to perform at One Loudoun,” Dillon said. “Last Call provides us with a list of possible artists and we put in great time and effort to ensure we select an inspiring group of musicians from many different genres. We have some popular regulars that include Jason Masi, Levi Stephens, Britton James, Red Wine Diaries and Crys Matthews. Paul Pfau, a contestant on The Voice, has also performed on the One Loudoun stage.”
There are six more Acoustic Wednesday performances scheduled for this summer, featuring the aforementioned Masi, Matthews and Red Wine Diaries, as well as David Andrew Smith, Tony M. and singer/songwriter/guitarist/saxophonist Ken Wenzel. Wenzel will close the series at his Aug. 31 show — as a first-time Acoustic Wednesdays performer, the Ashburn resident is looking forward to a fresh venue and excited crowd. “One Loudoun is the biggest story of Loudoun County these days,” Wenzel said. “It’s fun to be a part of a growing community and perform in front of local folks and show them who I am.”
Wenzel, likely echoing the reasoning of many of his musical peers, says there’s something particularly special about performing in front of a live audience, and in such a laid-back setting. “It’s the ultimate summer thing to do, isn’t it? The heat of the day fades, the dusk of the sky comes on and you can sit back on your blanket and let the music free you. It’s a great feeling when I can see listeners hearing, absorbing and responding to my songs. The more they’re into it, the harder I want to play.”
Acoustic Wednesdays performances start at 6 p.m. — Dillon advises arriving early, perhaps to grab a drink and snacks at any of One Loudoun’s dining establishments, before settling in on the plaza. Concert-goers are also welcome to bring their own munchies, non-alcoholic beverages and “well-behaved dogs” to the show. Dillon also reminds visitors, “There’s always something going on at One Loudoun” — for a round-up of all the concerts, festivals and special events on tap for the remainder of 2016, go to oneloudoun.com/calendar.
Summer Strummin’ at Acoustic Wednesdays
Shows run 6-8 p.m. at One Loudoun’s central plaza
Free and open to the public
July 20 Britton James
July 27: David Andrew Smith
Aug. 3: Tony M.
Aug. 10: Jason Masi
Aug. 17: Red Wine Diaries
Aug. 24: Crys Matthews
Aug. 31: Ken Wenzel