BRISTOL— Clear skies and a clear view of Bristol Harbor provided the perfect backdrop for good music on the opening night of the Bristol Fourth of July concert series last Friday.
Giving it a “conservative estimate” of 2,500 people blanketing the grass at Independence Park, concert committee chairman, Ray Lavey, was glad to see such a crowd. And as the first band of two for the night, Rendition, finished their set, the crowd continued to grow as Band of Brothers prepared to take the stage.
“The crowd is a lot bigger than I expected. They appeal to a lot of people,” Mr. Lavey said of the opening bands.
Besides the Fourth of July parade itself, the concerts, capped off with a fireworks display on July 3, traditionally draw a significant number of people to the waterfront.
On Saturday, Richard and Nancy Silva of Warren, returned to Independence Park, arriving early to set up their folding chairs where they could get a perfect view of the stage. Their strategy, like many others, was to bring dinner with them and dine in the park while waiting for the show to begin.
“We come to as many concerts as we can,” Mr. Silva said. It’s something he and his wife have done for years.
“We grew up in Bristol. We’re Bristolians at heart,” Ms. Silva added.
On Saturday, local favorites, Nasty Habits, opened up for national touring band, Chicago Total Access, a band Mr. Lavey heard in his travels and thought they’d be a good fit for the series.
To get national touring bands to Bristol, Mr. Lavey, said it takes research, timing and some luck to save money and get a band people will like.
“You try to catch them on part of their route. That’s the real science,” he said.
The concerts are part show, part fair and part festival, bringing in food and souvenir vendors for the appreciative crowd. And to keep every night looking like it’s the first night, once all the crowds have left for the evening, the town’s department of public works swoops in leaving nary a piece of litter on the lawn.