Blithewold Mansion, the public garden residing on 33 acres of Bristol, is once again hosting their beloved Music at Sunset series. They’re encouraging the entire family to come enjoy a diverse range of music – and maybe even ride a helicopter – on Wednesday nights all month long.
Since becoming a public garden, the former Van Wickle home has been voted one of New England’s five best by Yankee Magazine. Now this center of horticulture and history opens its grounds for music. “Blithewold offers an array of public programs and educational offerings for adults and children,” says Julie Christina, Blithewold’s Education Programs Manager. “Topics are selected based on hobbies and interests of the Van Wickle family and range from ornamental horticulture and botanical sciences to history, travel, architecture and music. Blithewold also offers popular children’s camps during the summer and spring vacation weeks, giving children the opportunity to learn about the interaction of plants and animals with humans and the environment. All of our programs, including concerts, allow Blithewold to stay relevant and to encourage return visits.”
Blithewold has been hosting concerts for many years, not only in the summer but also throughout the year during Daffodil Days and Christmas at Blithewold. And what was this about a helicopter? “This year before the start of the concerts, Bird’s Eye View Helicopter Tours are offering an opportunity to see an in.credible aerial view of Blithewold’s extensive grounds and Bristol’s gorgeous harbor,” Julie explains.
Music at Sunset, which evolved from Blithewold’s Summer Concert Series, runs every Wednesday until the end of August. The grounds open at 5pm for lawn games, croquet and picnic setup. Guests are encouraged to bring their own beverages, food and chairs before the music starts at 6pm. Music at Sunset includes Latin, steel drum, Cajun, folk, reggae and blues with live performances by the Honky Tonk Knights, the Magnolia Cajun Band, Panoramic View and the Superchief Trio.
On August 5, Newport’s Honky-Tonk Knights will bring their blend of honky tonk, bluegrass, country and rockabilly. “I formed the band over six years ago as a side project that quickly overtook my other acts,” says vocalist/guitarist Steve Cerilli. Steve and bassist Will Cooley make up the core of the band, but employ additional musicians for certain shows. “I started playing professionally 26 years ago as a boogie-woogie/honky tonk piano player. Recently, due to a wrist injury, I’ve gone back to keys while my wrist recovers, changing up the sound. For events we bring in professional players from Boston to augment the sound.”
On August 12, The Magnolia Cajun Band will perform. The band studied under some of Louisiana’s Cajun masters, and fans of the genre will attest that the lighthearted, dance-inducing sounds make for great summer music. “Cajun and Zydeco music is infectious and really fun to dance to,” fiddle player Michelle Kaminsky says, adding “smooth soled shoes really help for dancing.”
Coming to the Music at Sunset Series on August 19, is Aaron Abrahamson Cote, a noted drummer and percussionist from southern New England who opened for The Gaslight Anthem during their world tour earlier this year. His band Panoramic View will bring their style of tropical island music to Blithewold.
Last but not least, Superchief Trio will close out the 2015 Music at Sunset series on August 26, blending two-fisted piano, guitars and trombone to create a unique mix of swing, blues and boogie-woogie. It’s a great culmination for a concert series that prides itself on musical diversity.
Summer Concert Series: Music at Sunset
$7 for members,
$10 for non-members
Additional charge for helicopter tours
101 Ferry Road, Bristol