There are two things that can be counted on this summer — good music and big crowds on Wednesday nights at Soldotna Creek Park.
The 2019 Levitt AMP Soldotna Music Series has seen an explosion in attendance this summer, with the latest numbers seeing the continuation of that trend.
Last week with Pamyua playing in town, the attendance record was broken with about 2,100 showing up, according to Andrew Heuiser, events and programs director for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
The number has varied this summer between 1,300 and 2,000, but last week’s showing topped it all.
“We’ve been very busy,” Heuiser said, pointing out that last week’s turnout was helped by who was playing.
“I think the heat had a lot to do with it, it was a holiday and people wanted to get out,” he said. “And Pamyua has a huge following in Alaska.”
Pamyua is a Yup’ik group from Anchorage that features a blend of “tribal funk” and “Inuit soul music,” and they have played gigs around the world, lending to a big following from their home state.
“People wanted to see them play,” Heuiser said.
This week’s show features another Alaska group, although the name does not imply what their style of music is.
The Barcelona Boys Choir will take the stage tonight to showcase an energetic flow of rock and roll — complete with electric guitar and pounding drums — and the jazzy notes of a horn section, complete with trumpet and trombone. With a flair noticeable for their upbeat tempo and rhythm, the Barcelona Boys Choir was a no-brainer to book, Heuiser said.
“They’re an eclectic Alaskan rock band,” he said. “A fusion of blues and jazz, and they’re a very energetic band. We play music that the crowd usually responds well to.”
The group is based out of Anchorage, but will be making its debut at the Soldotna Music Series.
Opening for the Barcelona Boys Choir is local musical act Shonathin Hoskins, a solo artist that Heuiser said often uses a musical loop board, in which the musician produces a few bars of a melody or beat, then continues adding to the recording with additional licks.
“He plays a myriad of musical styles,” Heuiser said. “He even promised to do a Disney medley for the kids. There’s a lot of layering and stacking with his live music live.”
Heuiser said he hopes week six of the Wednesday night series continues the strong attendance trend, which is helped by a eclectic group of weekly bands.
“That was our goal,” he said. “With the grant we got, the goal was to make the acts very diverse. In doing that, we picked acts that we knew the community would respond to.”