The Levitt AMP Berea 10-week music series, which has been growing in popularity since its pilot year in 2017, will kick off its third year Friday, July 19 in Berea's "Old Town" Artisan Village with a "Beautiful Harmony Celebration," inspired by the new era of Emperor Naruhito, "Reiwa."
The event is a partnership with the Madison County International Committee (MCIC) and seeks to recognize the contributions of the central Kentucky Japanese community, particularly Japanese-owned manufacturers, and their workforce and amplify the history of the sister region relationship between Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan and Madison County.
Organizers want to reach a larger audience with this rich story and raise awareness for the work of the MCIC and their cultural exchange programs. First to perform in this summer's series will be Chicago-based Ho Etsu Taiko, a Japanese drumming group.
Like the Taiko drum ensemble, organizer Ali Blair said that this year's series will feature new music ensembles.
"We have not been able to feature a style like that before, so that is definitely new for this year," she said.
She said that the shows may also include new intermission performances as well as more youth talent from extending their partnership with the Berea Community Schools.
Also new this year is a grant that the group received for a zero waste initiative, which allows stations to be set up to help attendees understand where to properly put their waste. Blair said that the group will measure how much waste they divert from the landfills after the event is over.
"So that is something our community can be proud of," she said.
With a lot of dialogue regarding tourism and the redirection of their resources, Blair says that this is an event that helps contribute to that discussion as well as what Berea needs to do for economic growth.
"The music series taps into all of those things," Blair said.
The series provides family friendly entertainment, helps revitalize the Old Town Artisan Village and helps businesses by increased community involvement, she said.
"This helps even the playing field by getting out as community so that when we have disagreements about other topics, we can kind of put those aside," Blair said.
She expressed the need for approximately a dozen additional volunteers for street team marketing, setting up and tearing down, drink and information booths, the green team, guest services, audience count and a survey administrator.
The popular summer music series begins in July and extends into September, with free performances each week that are presented by the Berea Arts Council, which presents community arts experiences that ignite creativity, strengthen community ties and enhance the quality of life in Berea, in partnership with Ali Blair and the city of Berea.
For a full lineup of the summer series, visit https://www.firstfridayberea.com/2019-amp-berea.html
To volunteer for the Levitt AMP Summer Series, visit https://www.firstfridayberea.com/volunteer.html.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.