DURHAM — Last week, rock and roll cover band Nitefall closed out the final night of the Durham summer concert series. This not only marked the series’ second year at the Durham fairgrounds, but its twenty fifth year running. In order to attract more residents to attend, the town’s recreation committee also hosted games and food trucks in addition to free admission to see the bands.
Concerts were held on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. starting on June 27 with classic rock group, Kings of Karma. The Durham fairgrounds also saw rock groups Bored of Education and Engine Room, as well as New York based singer/songwriter, Dani Atkinson. Like Atkinson, Nitefall also comes from out of town in Enfield, CT, according to their Facebook page.
“We started our first year with local bands from around here that we knew would bring some people in and this year we ventured out a little bit more,” said Sherry Hill, recreation director. “We had three of our local bands but added two more types of bands that weren’t from around here to try something different and see what people like.”
In order to host these events, the recreation committee relied on sponsorships from the Durham Republican and Democratic Town Committees, the Durham Fair Committee, Ricks Enterprise LLC, Goduti Waste LLC, Durham Dairy Serve, Chapman Manufacturing Company, Middlesex Music Academy LLC and Cozy Corner LLC.
“I saw these guys at a campground I was staying at in Massachusetts and I thought they were great. So, nobody else was really suggesting any bands and we had to start promoting this so I’m like ‘I’ve got this cool band Nitefall’,” said John Scagnelli, Durham’s market master and member of the town’s recreation committee.
Scagnelli was also the one who had suggested bringing food trucks to the summer concerts. This year, Durham saw Kit Kats Ice Cream, Blue Chip Creamery, Taco Pacifico, the Leaner Weiner, Food Extrovert and others.
Laura Francis, Durham’s first selectwoman, said she had helped the recreation committee pitch to the Durham fair committee their plan to host the concert series at the fairgrounds.
“What is the most gratifying part of this for me is that kids can play, parents can enjoy themselves without having to worry about them being safe near a road and friends can meet up with one another. And it’s all generations,” said Francis.
Durham resident, Ronald Capozzi, attended his first Durham concert on Aug. 15. Capozzi was looking to “get out of house” and found himself at the fairgrounds.
“You know, the town doesn’t have a whole lot of services, but they’re trying,” he said.
Scagnelli estimated about 80 people were in attendance at the final summer concert. However, he’s hoping to change that next year with increased promotion for the events.
“Bringing the community together is the goal here. To provide a community event for everyone to just get together and have a good time,” he said.