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>> CELEBRATE VIRGINIA LIVE CONCERT SERIES IS BACK IN THE 'BURG, BETTER THAN EVER
Celebrate Virginia Live concert series is back in Fredericksburg, bigger and better than ever


Date published: 5/12/2011

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

It's going to be one hot summer for Celebrate Virginia Live.

Now in its third season of existence, the Central Park-based summer concert series is getting bigger and better, all while solidifying the fact that Fredericksburg is a stellar place for a major music venue.

The 2011 season kicked off on April 29 with a vivacious, sold-out performance by legendary Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd.

CVL's season runs well into August and features an eclectic blend of classic rock, modern rock and country music shows.

"When we first started out with Celebrate Virginia Live, we asked ourselves what size or type of artist would we be able to attract here in Fredericksburg," said David Peterson, promoter and event producer of Celebrate Virginia Live and owner of Seven Hills Presents, producers of the Celebrate Virginia Live series.

"That question has now been answered. With Lynyrd Skynyrd, the door has been opened--and we've grown in a way that the Fredericksburg community can call this venue its own, and where we can draw music lovers from other communities."

The Skynyrd show drew fans from as far away as New Hampshire.

Peterson plans to harness the momentum from the Skynyrd concert and continue to draw in large crowds for the rest of the season.

As of this print, CVL has six more shows scheduled through mid-August, and expects to confirm an additional six-plus shows by the end of the summer.

The confirmed schedule includes performances by .38 Special with The Blues Buckets (May 20), Travis Tritt (June 3), Gary Allan (June 17), Darius Rucker (July 8) and Trace Adkins (July 17).

On Aug. 19, Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies will rock the stage--a show just confirmed as of press time. Peterson sees the Barenaked Ladies show as an opportunity to showcase a different genre of rock, while growing CVL's reputation as a diverse venue.

"Barenaked Ladies--I'm a big fan of those guys," said Peterson. "I listened to their demo in 1992 and have been a fan since. I hope we'll see a decent turnout.

"If that's the case, we'll be able to continue bring in bands of the same alternative quality."

Ultimately, Silver Cos., the developer of the Celebrate Virginia campus, would like to see Seven Hills Presents as a tenant inside a larger entertainment complex.

"Long-term, we envision several different entertainment options in Celebrate Virginia," said Scott Little, director of development for Celebrate Virginia. "For now, we're going to stick with the concert series.

"It's going exceptionally well and it's solidified what we've known all along in this area: that there's a need for this type of venue and tourism district."

Before Celebrate Virginia can grow into the next Power Plant Live (Baltimore)--chock-full of several distinct music and entertainment venues--there must be community support.

And judging by the reception of Celebrate Virginia Live, it appears that the idea of bringing big bands to Fredericksburg is a popular one.

"It's a lot of work and a tremendous responsibility to produce these events," said Peterson. "The degree to which this series has been embraced has been incredibly humbling."

Jesse Scott is a Fredericksburg writer.


What: Celebrate Virginia Live, 2011 season Where: Celebrate Virginia Live is at the Job.com Pavilion, Gordon W. Shelton Boulevard, Central Park When: Summer 2011 Cost: General admission, Gold Circle and VIP/Platinum Experience tickets available for all shows. Info: 877/743-5318; celebratevirginialive.com