Cool river breezes and salty popcorn were enjoyed alongside local bluegrass music at Saturday night’s Music By the River concert at Belle Isle State Park.
Music By the River is a series of eight concerts held throughout the year at the park, which is located in Lancaster County. The open-air concerts feature local bluegrass bands, like Saturday’s Rappahannock Crossing.
Susie Pierce, five-year president of the Friends of Belle Isle State Park, a citizen support organization, explained that the events are put on especially with families in mind. Junior Park Rangers plan activities for children like tug-of-wars and tag to keep them entertained while their parents enjoy the concert.
While the average Music By the River concert draws a crowd of between 150-200 people, shows featuring better-known bands have had crowds as large as 800 people.
Former Chief Ranger, Mike Lambert, started the series about 10 years ago with the goal of getting families together to enjoy the park and local talent.
“He had an idea that it would be neat to have music in the park,” Park Manager Tim Shrader explained.
From there, Lambert worked with the Friends of Belle Isle to bring the idea to life. The organization relies heavily on sponsors to help keep the cost of the event low. They provide free popcorn and inexpensive sodas at the concerts, and encourage families to pack their own picnic dinners.
Shrader says his favorite part of the events is, “seeing everybody have a good time, and just enjoying the music.”
The park will host three additional concerts this summer. They will be on July 20, August 10, and August 17.