Archived Arts & Entertainment

Mountain momma

As a kid, my sister and I had an unspoken pact. If one of us heard Cyndi Lauper come on the radio, we promptly ran through the house hollering “Come quick, she’s on!” 


As children of the ‘80s, you had to work at being cool. We couldn’t merely sit back and swoon over Michael J. Fox’s latest episode of Family Ties or count our collection of jelly bracelets, we had to perfect our tight-rolled jeans technique, experiment with the best brand of “big bangs” hair spray, and memorize lyrics to songs during the fleeting and fickle window when they came on commercial radio.

We were highly supercilious toward my mom’s musical taste, groaning in protest whenever the kitchen radio was tuned to her Goldie Oldie station on Saturday mornings, sending us trudging to our room to pull out our one communally owned record, Men at Work.

I remember wondering whether the music of our time would be seen by future generations as we saw my mom’s. And I concluded that surely such a fate would be impossible, that our music would never fall into the same bowels of dorkdome.

Whew! Thank goodness I was right ‘cause I sure like my ‘80s music. And at least for now, my kids are complicit in my secret practice of throwing ‘80s dance parties in the living room.

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So I was ecstatic to see the outdoor Concerts on the Creek series in Sylva will throw down with an all ‘80s set this Friday night.

Truth be told, Concerts on the Creek is an excellent bet for the family any Friday night of the summer. Come socialize with friends, relax in a lawn chair (or on a blanket) and let the kids romp and dance. Bring a picnic and it’s a virtually free night out. If you are too harrowed by the end of the week to pull off a picnic, there are hotdogs and cotton candy — or plenty of places downtown to grab a bite before the show.

Music genres vary over the 14-week season, but I personally have been looking forward to the ‘80s band Buick MacKane from Morganton playing this Friday (June 28). It will probably lean toward ‘80s rock — their self-proclaimed specialty — but they do promise to serve up some ‘80s dance tunes and pop hits.

The show goes from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and is held at the Bridge Park Pavilion along Mill Street downtown. Concerts on the Creek are put on by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, with support from local business sponsors.

Summer in the mountains brings loads of free outdoor concerts. I start looking forward to them each spring. Just about every town has their own version. There’s Pickin’ on the Square in Franklin, Pickin’ in the Park in Canton, Groovin’ on the Green in Cashiers, Music in the Mountains in Bryson City, Concerts on the Quad at WCU….and the list does on. We run a full list in the calendar at the back of The Smoky Mountain News. 

One of my favorites are the street dances in downtown Waynesville held right in the middle of Main Street in front of the historic courthouse. (Although we sure will miss the shade of the large maples cut down from the courthouse lawn by our county commissioners this year.) 

The Waynesville street dances are like old-fashioned hoe downs, with cornmeal scattered on the street and the crowd led in a community square dance. They aren’t every week, so you have to watch our calendar for them — hint, hint, there is one this Friday starting at 6:30 p.m.

My kids may not have the same selection of radio stations here as the big city where I grew up, but I’ll take the small town charm of street dances any day.

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