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Strings’ free concerts carry on under COVID-19 restrictions

Adia Clark Lay will be playing for a social-distanced audience during the Music on the Green series at the Yampa River Botanic Park. The Clark-based singer-songwriter will play her own music along with some pop tunes. The free summer series will continue throughout the summer thanks to the Strings Music Festival’s efforts to keep the concerts safe.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Entertainment in Steamboat Springs is looking much different these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean one of Steamboat Springs’ most popular music venues is giving up.

The Strings Music Festival is going live Friday with its popular Music on the Green summer series at the Yampa River Botanic Park. This year, Strings is asking fans to reserve spots ahead of time. As usual, the summer park concerts are free, but Strings is asking folks to reserve their space by signing up the Wednesday before each concert.

Botanic Park concerts will be held at 10 a.m. every other Friday. Strings will be setting up pods for groups of people to sit and watch safely with their friends and families.

Friday’s performer is Adia Clark Lay, a local talent who will regale the audience with her singing and songwriting artistry. The teen talent has been honing her skills at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston for the last two summers. She’s been busy with gigs since age 12.

Clark Lay originally hails from Chicago but her family moved out to the Clark area three years ago. The 16-year-old will be a junior this year at Steamboat Springs High School.

When asked if living in rural Colorado has hurt her singing career, she said absolutely not.

“I think the music scene is a lot more accessible and accepting,” Adia said. “It’s easier in a way. Everybody is so kind here, and since I’m a minor, it’s hard to get gigs in Illinois.”

If you go

What: Music on the Green, featuring Adia Clark Lay
When: 10 a.m. Friday
Where: Yampa River Botanic Park, 1000 Pamela Lane
Register: stringsmusicfestival.com

Not a problem in Steamboat though. Adia has been playing at places like The Press and E3 Chophouse in downtown Steamboat Springs. She’s also played at carnivals and festivals both here and in Illinois. She’s an actor with several movie and TV credits to her name, but music is her main focus right now.

The young performer will play some of her original music at the Botanic Park along with some Tom Petty and current pop music covers.

In the meantime, Strings has started a podcast featuring a different topic every Wednesday paired with mastered music recorded at their concerts.

Strings Marketing Director Greg Hamilton said the first podcast honoring Beethoven’s 250th birthday was a hit. If fans missed the podcast, they can find it at stringsmusicfestival.com, and eventually, podcast services will be carrying all Strings podcast performances.

Hamilton wants residents to keep an eye on their Strings email for more upcoming public performances.

“We are trying to think creatively. Luckily, part of our mission is innovative programs,” Hamilton said.

Two ideas that are being hashed out are a drive-in concert where people can tailgate at the Strings parking lot while listening to live concerts. The nonprofit is also looking at holding a “Frontline Heroes Concert.”

“We’re trying to be accessible, maybe have people nominate local heroes to attend the concert … medical professionals, store clerks, waiters. They’re handling a lot of stuff and interacting to keep their businesses going,” Hamilton said.

To see Strings’ latest events and to sign up for emails, visit stringsmusicfestival.com.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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