Update: As of Monday, May 11, this event has been postponed. Read more here.
BURRILLVILLE – With stay-at-home orders lifted and residents coming out of their homes, some for the first time in more than a month, town officials say they’re ready to declare: Burrillville is back in business.
And on Saturday, May 16, they’ll gather some of the best local talent to celebrate as much, with a day full of outdoor concerts in Pascoag and Harrisville.
“We choose the two sites because the idea is to get people out, but also to give the businesses a little boost,” explained Jim Langlois chairman of the Burrillville Redevelopment Agency, and also a member of our of four bands scheduled to play the event.
The fun will begin at Gonyea Park in Pascoag at noon, when Harrisville-based singer/songwriter Betsy Lisenfelt takes the stage.
At 1 p.m., Leo Charpentier & Friends, a lively country/rockabilly act, will perform at the Stillwater Pavilion in Harrisville.
The fun at Gonyea continues at 2 p.m., when nationally-acclaimed folk and blues artist Jonas Woods performs.
Langlois’s group, The Live Music Band, will take the pavilion at 3 p.m., playing classic rock and dance music.
Guests are expected to abide by social distancing rules and wear face coverings, but organizers have suggested that locals have some fun with the required garb and decorate their masks.
They’re also encouraged to patronize local shops and restaurants that have struggled financially through the pandemic.
“People can get some food and hang out and enjoy themselves,” Langlois said.
Langlois said Town Manager Michael Wood asked him to organize the event as a way to celebrate the town’s resilience through a difficult month and to help local businesses. The bass guitarist and vocalist for Burrillville-based The Live Music Band, Langlois said the group sent private messages to some of their fans to gauge how others felt about the idea.
“It was overwhelmingly ‘do it,'” he said. “People are ready.”
For those not yet comfortable with the idea of crowds after staying isolated to curb the spread of Covid-19, much of the event will also be streamed live on Facebook.
Those who do attend will find 20-foot squares marked on the grass 6-feet apart on the fields, where five people can stay at a time.
“That meets the gathering rules,” Langlois said, noting that safety barriers will be placed around the entertainers.
Langlois noted that the last time his band played was the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, just before the lockdown.
Wood, he noted, has been in touch with the governor’s office to make sure the event meets state guidelines.
The rain date for the outdoor concert is Sunday, May 17.