Elizabeth Palmieri has had the first Feet on the Street summer concert marked on her calendar since January.
The West Towson resident has loyally attended the annual event on Allegheny Avenue for years, setting up a circle of lawn chairs every Friday with her wife, son, parents and friends. “We make an entire evening out of this,” she said.
The free concerts are a warm-weather tradition, so when the concert series starts this Friday, May 18, with a performance from the band Jury, it will mark the start of summer, Palmieri said.
“It really is one of the best ways to spend a Friday evening in the summertime,” Palmieri said. “It’s nice outside, it’s pretty shaded, and everybody just gets together and listens to great music.”
The Friday concerts in Towson, which run until Sept. 28, will also feature a bar with beer, wine and cocktails, a moon bounce and face-painting.
Nancy Hafford, who organizes the event as the director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, compared it to a “flash mob,” saying the organization recommends people bring their own chairs.
The chamber hosts the event to draw people to downtown in the early evenings, which benefits restaurants and bars, Hafford said.
In the years Feet on the Street has been held, Hafford said, she has seen a shift: People now often prefer to stay in the suburbs for weekend entertainment rather than head into downtown Baltimore.
“Before we did this, we were a 9-to-5 kind of town,” Hafford said, adding that Feet on the Street “keeps people staying here — that’s the whole purpose.”
Hafford said the event costs $3,500 per night to put on, with the money raised entirely from the sale of drinks like orange crushes. It can draw between 1,000 and 1,500 people, up from about 300 when it first started 12 years ago, she said.
Feet on the Street is not the only game in town on Friday nights.
On June 1, Hunt Valley Towne Centre’s free weekly series Friday Night Live kicks off at 7 p.m. with Dixon Ulmer Band.
And at Belvedere Square just over the city line, the free concert series Summer Sounds plays Fridays at 6 p.m., starting May 25 with a concert by Kelly Bell Band.
“There’s something for everyone,” said Lauren Bubb, marketing assistant for MacKenzie Management Co., which manages Belvedere Square.
In addition to concerts, food vendors and a kids’ zone, Bubb said Summer Sounds this year will have a “mobile makerspace” from Open Works Baltimore, where kids and adults can create crafts.
The 14-year-old concert series draws an average of 2,500 to 3,000 people per night, and has grown especially in the past three years, Bubb said.
The following are the schedules for the free Friday night music:
Feet on the Street, Towson (6:30 p.m.)
May 18: Jury
May 25: Crushing Day
June 1: Starcrush
June 8: That’s What She Said
June 15: Carronne Jones & Company
June 22: Crushing Day
June 29: Chubby Hoo Hoo
July 6: That’s What She Said
July 13: Jury
July 20: Crushing Day
July 27: Appaloosa
Aug. 3: TBA
Aug. 10: TBA
Aug. 17: Kitty Back
Aug. 24: Crushing Day
Aug. 31: Jury
Sept. 7: TBA
Sept. 14: That’s What She Said
Sept. 21: Crushing Day
Sept. 28: TBA
Summer Sounds, Belvedere Square (6 p.m.)
May 25: Kelly Bell Band
June 1: That’s What She Said
June 8: The Remainders
June 15: Mambo Combo
June 29: Ricky Wise and the Dirty Unit
July 6: Nelly’s Echo
July 13: Sons of Pirates
July 20: Tumblehome
July 27: The Long Run
Aug. 3: Essential Vybe
Aug. 10: Junkyard Saints
Aug. 17: Crushing Day
Aug. 24: New Romance
Aug. 31: Ruthie and the Wranglers
Sept. 7: The Crawdaddies
Friday Night Live, Hunt Valley Towne Centre (7:30 p.m.)
June 1: Dixon Ulmer Band
June 8: Sons of Pirates
June 15: Remains of Radio
June 22: The Fugitives
June 29: Mister Wilson
July 6: Sagamore
July 13: Appaloosa
July 20: The Josh Christina Band
July 27: The Reagan Years
Aug. 3: Don’t Stop
Aug. 10: Different Sisters
Aug. 17: Junkyard Saints
Aug. 24: The Klassix