Friday, June 24, 2011

Hot Summer Nights Concerts Return

Slaid Cleaves will return to Maine again this summer to open the annual Hot Summer Nights concert series in his hometown of South Berwick at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, in the Marshwood High School Auditorium. Cleaves, who is poised to release his latest album, has appeared in South Berwick every year since 2001.
Slaid’s concert is the first in a lineup of free shows offered throughout the summer by SoBo Central, a community non-profit group. He will be performing on the eve of releasing his new CD, “Sorrow and Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge.” Five other concerts will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, beginning July 14, on the lawn of Central School. Residents are invited to come downtown with picnics, blankets and babies and enjoy the open-air concerts with friends and neighbors. Food and beverages will also be sold. The shows go on rain or shine, but outdoor shows will move across the street to the Town Hall in the case of rain.
The Hot Summer Nights line-up includes local favorites like Joyce Anderson’s one-woman-band show and Chronic Jazz Syndrome’s horn band tunes as well as Mudhook, Dan Walker and New England Blue Grass. The concerts feature local teens as the opening acts. A hoot night on August 4 will include a variety of local talents. Anyone interested in performing can contact Chip Harding, who plans the opening acts, at (207) 384-5846.
The concert series will close with the first-ever LanternFest, featuring the classic and contemporary covers of PB&J, a community-wide festival of lights and a lantern stroll. The LanternFest, scheduled for Thursday, August 25 at Spring Hill, will involve artists, children, schools, families, fire-lovers and all other community members who want to join in lantern-making, a parade around Knights Pond, music, food, a bonfire, and the launching of boat lanterns. Grounds will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6.
The summer concert series, organized and staffed by a small group of volunteers, raises funds to pay the professional musicians and other expenses associated with the concerts. Hot Summer Nights is a program of the local non-profit group, SoBo Central, which was incorporated in Maine in July 2009.
SoBo Central is an umbrella for six local organizations dedicated to the community of South Berwick: Green Up, Smart Growth South Berwick, the Food Pantry, Keep South Berwick Warm, and Powderhouse Hill, as well as Hot Summer Nights.
Although the concerts are all free, Hot Summer Nights welcomes donations, which are now tax-deductible.
More information on shows, musicians and rain announcements is available on the web at This includes the schedule, the history, and even a taste of the music. For more information email
Photo caption: Slaid Cleaves will return to his hometown of South Berwick to kick off the annual Hot Summer Nights concert series on June 29. (Courtesy photo)