Arbutus residents will have a new place to kick back and relax this summer with the start of the weekly Arbutus Summer Concert Series.
The series will debut with 10 free Saturday concerts featuring Baltimore area bands on stage from 4 to 7 p.m. in the public parking lot behind DePaola's Pub on Sulphur Spring Road.
The first concert will be June 29 and will feature a local favorite, Appaloosa.
"They're a well-known band," said Arbutus Business and Professional Association President and event creator Terry Nolan. "They're a Baltimore legend."
Appaloosa keyboardist and self-proclaimed band leader Chuck Ansell said he is thrilled to have the band on the series' first bill.
"We're really looking forward to kicking it off," Ansell said. "We're pretty popular on the west side of town (Baltimore), so we're hoping to have a big crowd for them."
The band will play at Frederick Road Fridays in Catonsville the day before, June 28, and is looking forward to the chance to play in the neighboring community as well.
"We're delighted that Arbutus is going to be do the same thing," Ansell said of the new series.
The band is even more familiar to local fans after appearing at this year's Arbutus Arts Festival.
Another band on the Saturday summer schedule, Major Company, also performed during the annual arts and crafts extravaganza last month.
Also scheduled to appear this summer is Rob Fahey and the Pieces, led by the former member of 1980s Baltimore favorite, The Ravyns.
Nolan said he is still looking for local bands to fill the two 15-minute breaks during each concert throughout the summer.
"Our plan is to fill the band breaks with Arbutus local talent," Nolan said. "Any local talent that you have, bring it along."
He said auditions for the spots in Saturday's concerts will be held Friday, June 28, at noon, in the downstairs portion of Paul's Restaurant.
Local bands interested in garnering some summer concert exposure are invited to come out.
In accordance with Nolan's theme of bringing business to the area, Heavy Seas beer — brewed in Halethorpe — will be for sale at every concert, in addition to wine and water.
"They're the local brewery, it's a natural fit here," Nolan said.
Regular and diet Pepsi Throwback, versions of the current Pepsi soda made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, will also be for sale.
Nolan came up with the idea for the concert series as a way to draw traffic into the Arbutus business district and thinks the combination of music and camaraderie will encourage people to stick around for dinner or a movie after the show is over.
"I wanted to come up with an idea to bring people to downtown Arbutus on a Saturday to be customers," Nolan said. "They're more likely to stay here."
With the 16-by-10-foot stage nearing completion, permits obtained and less than two weeks until the debut, Nolan said he is glad to see his idea finally coming to life.
"It's coming together," he said. "It's gratifying."