The Levitt AMP Your City Music Series chose Hattiesburg as a winner of a more than $25,000 grant to host 10 weeks of free music events at Chain Park during the summer of 2017.
These weekly concerts will feature both local and out-of-state artists and will of no cost to the public in an effort to promote underused venues. The goal of this series is to give recognition to underground artists. Other winners of the grant include cities across the entire United States; 15 cities total were chosen for the concert series.
The Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation funds The Levitt AMP Your City Music Series. The foundation focuses on smaller cities to host events that would not normally be financially feasible. These effort aids the venue, artists and the community. Cities with a population of 400,000 residents or fewer were eligible to apply, making Hattiesburg a prime candidate.
The Southern Miss Department of Mass Communications entered Hattiesburg in the contest and had students in the department write the proposal necessary to enter. These efforts were headed by John Pluskota, a professor in the department of Mass Communications, and several of his students.
“If we receive this grant it will be one of the largest and longest concert series around, highlighting the talent, community and people of this region, and by hosting it in Chain Park we enrich the lives of local residents and draw positive attention to the diversity, origins and roots of Hattiesburg,” Pluskota told WDAM during the application process.
“The goal of the grant is to improve the social fabric of the community through music and an underused park,” Pluskota said. “We really wanted to highlight Mississippi music, and what better place than the Hub City?”
Local artists and Hub City residents couldn’t agree more now that Hattiesburg has been chosen.
This event will allow students at USM to get involved, especially students in the music production area of study.
“A lot of people don’t know how much work goes into events like this,” Pluskota said. “Not only will it benefit the arts and the university, but it will benefit the students also. We have opportunity for students to deal with applications for artists, event planning and all of the other parts of making something like this happen.”
Pluskota said Levitt provides the funding for the series, and there are rules that musicians cannot participate for free.
“We are choosing the artists based on the community and what we think will bring us together,” Pluskota said. “We want regional acts, our goal is to have very diverse music that really represents the culture in Mississippi. We also want the event to be family friendly and just something that everyone would be able to come to and enjoy.”
The series will begin toward the end of June. More information about the lineup will be released over the next few months, giving music lovers in the Hub City something to look forward to, according to Pluskota.