Part of Parks and Recreation Department Director April Layher’s vision for the potential of Saracen Landing will be fulfilled Sunday afternoon when bands take the stage for the inaugural Saracen Sunday concert.
“After I came on as parks director in January, I realized that we have a beautiful venue in Saracen Landing and that most Sundays it is not used,” Layher said of the origin of the concert idea. “If this one is a success, we will have a similar concert the first Sunday of August and September.”
Layher said that Saracen Sunday is being sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department in cooperation with GMW Productions and its president Gary Wilson.
“We will have the Brian Austin Blues Band and the On Call Band, thanks to Gary,” Layher said.
Layher said that an admission charge of $5 for those aged 13 and up will cover all expenses.
“Kids 12 and under get in free,” Layher said. “We will have a limited number of metal chairs available, but if you want a comfortable chair, you’d better bring your own lawn chair.”
Layher said that the concert begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m.
When asked if the addition of Saracen Sunday to a growing list of musical events in the downtown area ran the risk of over-saturating the market for such events, Layher was quick to say no.
“I’ve talked to Harold Terry, who organizes the Music on Main events, and he thinks this is a great idea,” Layher said. “All of us who are working on events like this have been working together to come up with programs for the community. We try to coordinate and plan events that are not in conflict with each other.”
Layher said that an example of such cooperation is the rescheduling of Music on Main to Saturday night because of the city fireworks show Friday.
“Everyone is trying to do what is best for Pine Bluff,” Layher said. “What is rewarding about working with all of these people is that we all have Pine Bluff’s best interests at heart.”
Terry, president of the Pine Bluff Downtown Special Events Organization and organizer of Music on Main, agreed that cooperation with other like-minded organizations is key to the city’s success.
“April and I worked together on the city’s 175th anniversary celebration,” Terry said. “We both agree that whatever you can do to bring entertainment and family-oriented things to the downtown area is a good thing. We are so far behind other cities in terms of doing things like that, so the more of these events we can get, the better off our town will be.”
Terry said that Saturday’s Music on Main will feature the Lucious Spiller Band and the Billy Jones Bluez Band at Barraque and Main streets adjacent to the Jefferson County Courthouse.
Terry said that gates open at 7 p.m. and that tickets cost $5.