Hattiesburg residents and visitors alike can pack their folding chairs, blankets and coolers and come to Town Square Park on Fridays now that Live at Five is back in full swing.
The event is a free, outdoor concert series in Downtown Hattiesburg and takes place on Friday evenings in the fall and spring from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Local blues legend Tommie “T-Bone” Pruitt and the Rhythm Rockers kicked off the 2018 Fall season of Live at Five on Sept. 21, and New Orleans artist Bon Bon Vivant performed Sept. 28.
Sarah Newton started Live at Five in the Spring of 2008. Newton said the idea formed when she was president of the Downtown Association.
“This is our eleventh year,” Newton said. “My parents were involved with a program held in Baton Rouge and suggested I start a concert series in Hattiesburg. In a way, I helped start Live at Five as a way to pay tribute to my father.”
Newton said Live at Five has a great impact on the community because it unites the Hattiesburg community.
“I think the event helps bring people together in a way that there aren’t other opportunities for people to come together,” Newton said. “That’s what makes this event so special.”
Newton said Live at Five has particularly grown over the past five years.
“I love knowing that people enjoy it,” Newton said. “Even my kids ask me ‘When does it start?’ They call Town Square Park ‘Live at Five’ Park.’”
“Live at Five has become an event that is synonymous with Hattiesburg’s quality of life,” Mayor Toby Barker said. “It has become part of the very fabric and culture of our city. Traditions begin because people have passion and ideas and want to do something for the community. Traditions are sustained when the community goes and attends and supports.”
“We’ve been doing vending at Live at Five for the past three of four years,” Carlos Molina, owner of La Mexicana, said. “We love it, it’s a great environment to bring the kids. I always tell people that aren’t from here it’s like a Norman Rockwell painting just blew up and it exploded in Hattiesburg.
Molina said being a vendor at Live at Five has made a positive impact on his business.
“I think it’s one of the fundamentals of operating a business and one of the reasons we do these events is to do direct marketing,” Molina said. “It’s about being out there with the community, being known and letting people know you’re a locally owned business and that we work with other local business. We get our meat from Lil Butcher Shoppe and get our vegetables as locally as possible.”
This season of Live at Five will include performances by Dynamo on Oct. 5, Roxy Roca on Oct. 12, Grayson Capps on Oct. 19 and Lightnin Malcolm on Oct. 26.
For more information on Live at Five, check out their Facebook Page Live at Five H’Burg or at www.hattiesburglivemusic.com/ live-at-five.