Downtown Montclair has been alive and vibrant in an electric new way the last few weekends, and it all started with the debut of the Montclair Center Stage on Saturday, April 27, followed by another bustling day on Church Street on Saturday, May 4. The addition of Saturday concerts, produced by Joann Smalls Productions, with sound production by ACIEM Studios, have been wildly successful at attracting crowds to Church Street, but not everyone is singing the same happy tune.
“The Montclair Center Stage has been a great success with attendance, commerce, music, and publicity,” says Luther Flurry, executive director of the Montclair Business Improvement District. “However it has hurt some businesses, and this must be addressed. After each concert, we have taken notes and adjusted details in our programming.”
One of those adjustments is a Saturday schedule of musical performance running from 2-8 p.m., as opposed to an earlier noon-6 p.m. start time. However, outdoor music lovers should not panic.
“The Montclair Center BID is committed to music in Montclair Center,” says Flurry. “We are certain that, with adjustments, the Montclair Center Stage will draw customers and artists to Montclair Center in a way that is not to the detriment of other businesses. We are exploring a variety of options including stage location, programming and dates.”
The boon to businesses has been obvious at restaurants packed with diners enjoying music at outdoor tables. Fresco Montclair has been one of the more outspoken businesses pleased with the increase in foot traffic that the Montclair Center Stage has brought. Other businesses say they are experiencing challenges related to Saturday music and have voiced their concerns to Flurry. Specifically, some Church Street retailers report that their registers are down on the days with outdoor music. In the past, outdoor music had been held on Sundays.
Here’s what’s on deck for this Saturday — tell us in comments what you would like to see (and hear) in terms of music at Montclair Center Stage.
Montclair Center Stage schedule for Saturday, May 18
2:00pm Rylan Stowe
3:00pm Skunk Daze
5:00pm Paul Gargiulo
6:00pm I Am Fighting
7:00pm Opera Theatre of Montclair