Summer Lights is Alive and Well in Music City

By Karen Le Van

Rumor had it that Nasvhille's first-weekend-in-June music festival would not take place this year, much to the dismay of many Summer Lights fans, myself included. I've planned my summer vacation around the event for the last three years. Now that I've moved to Nashville I figured I'd have lots of friends visiting that weekend just to see if what I had reported on past Summer Lights shows was really true.

Last weekend Jonell Mosser was in concert at the Bluebird and announced that she was joined by several other entertainers for a fund-raising performance to save Summer Lights. And yes, it worked. This year's theme, "Back Where We Belong in '92," will be exactly as it states -- back where they belong in the regular five-block location from the Legislative Plaza down the Deadrick Street corridor to the Metro Court House parking lot instead of being spread all over the city as it was last year.

There will be six stages featuring over 100 hours of continuous music from May 28 through the 31st. Well, they almost made the first weekend in June.

Headlining this year's shows will be Wynonna Judd, Sammy Kershaw, McBride and the Ride, and the sexy newcomer, "the Mel Gibson of country music," Billy Ray Cyrus.I know I'll >be on the front row for this one.

Russ Taff, a pop-gospel singer, will open for Wynonna. Brother Boys and Kathy Chiavola will be featured on the bluegrass venue. Jazz artists include M to the Third Power, the Nasvhille Jazz Machine, Matt Rollings and Rush Hour. Folk music, big band and Latin music will also be featured.

Other performers scheduled are former Highway 101 vocalist Paulette Carlson, Lacy J. Dalton, South African world music group Zulu Spear, and Jett Williams (out-of-wedlock daughter of Hank Williams Sr.) and the Drifting Cowboys (Hank's original backing musicians from the fifties).

There will be art exhibits and TPAC will offer "The Secret Garden," the Tony award-winning adaption of the popular Victorian novel.

As I have reported the last three years, Summer Lights is an event that true music lovers don't want to miss. Tickets will be $5 at the gate with advance ticket coupons redeemable through NationBank, starting May 11 where you can get two-for-one tickets. Plan your vacation today and include Summer Lights in your plans. You won't be disappointed.