The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday March 22nd

140 West development to host series of events to kick off summer

As classes come to an end, a culmination of festivities is hitting 140 West development to kick off summer.

Ram Realty Services and the Cultural Arts Division of the Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Department is continuing its summer series, “Live & Local Music and Art on the Plaza” tonight and Saturday. The festival will be hosting events every Friday until June 27. 

The first series in the festival took place last Friday, but tomorrow will be the first of three Saturdays of the summer festival.

Jeneea Jervay, program assistant of festivals and celebrations for the Town of Chapel Hill, said the festival isn't the first of its kind. 

“There was something like this last year, ‘Locally Grown,’ but it was held on Thursday evenings in the plaza,” she said. 

“This year (we're) trying Friday evening for better traffic — not just of people of Chapel Hill but outside the local community.”

The official sponsors for the festival include DSI Comedy Theater, the Chapel Hill Weekly, the Chapel Hill News and The Raleigh News & Observer. The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership  aided Ram Realty Services and Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation in connecting the sponsors to the festival. 

Friday's event features the Tea Cup Gin and Dixieland jazz groups. 

Christy Benson, the lead vocalist for Tea Cup Gin, grew up in Chapel Hill and is a UNC graduate in law and physics. She said the name for the group is a reference to the Prohibition Era of the 1920s.

“They made illegal bathtub gin and moonshine and served it in teacups,” she said. 

Benson said Tea Cup Gin is about old school, vintage jazz with influences of Chicago and Mississippi blues. Countering their show Saturday is the Indie rock, power pop group, I Was Totally Destroying It.  

John Booker, the vocalist and guitarist for I Was Totally Destroying It, said the band takes influences from the 1990s and that the group's repertoire is an ode to the past with a slight modern twist. Booker is also a Chapel Hill native. 

“It's good to get back to Chapel Hill and play a show and do it outdoors,” he said. “I can't remember the last time (I Was Totally Destroying It) did something like that, so it's exciting for us.”

Saturday's installation of the festival will also feature performances from UNC's Carolina Irish Association and Zumba instructor Eric Zeigler. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in the dance festival, just one of the many tools Live & Local is using to engage participants in the local arts and music scene. 

“Don’t wear your super tight jeans,” Jervay said.

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