South Walton has reason to celebrate with the announcement of the return of the tremendously popular First Note Music Hall experience.
First Note brought the music hall experience to South Walton at Redfish Village originally when owner Tommy Jackson opened it July 4, 2011. The public loved the music hall venue and the fresh, emerging Nashville talent it offered and showed its appreciation by packing the house week after week. However, after performing 150 shows, Jackson closed in March 2012 due to “family concerns,” and he sold the building.
"But, I just sold the building," he explains. "First Note Productions continued to go on with what we were doing."
In September 2013 he brought the First Note Music Hall concept to Arnett Stables for a weekend event, which was very successful.
"People asked me then, 'Is there a way to bring this back'?" he said.
But Jackson didn't want to own another building.
"The building at Redfish proved to be too small to hold the crowds that wanted to attend and there was no way to expand. We sold out every show and I didn't want to put myself in that position again," he said.
In November, Seascape Resort called him, asking him to take the show on the road to Seascape at their new outdoor stage. Jackson agreed. Seascape will use its expansive outdoor space to create a musical night under the stars every Friday and Saturday.
However, the 30A community had also been good to him and Jackson did not want to turn his back on them. Jackson said he looked around at various venues and met with Tim Cole, general manager at The Vue on 30A. They agreed to a schedule of 20 shows on Sunday evenings, and now the veranda at The Vue will be transformed into a music set to welcome locals and visitors for an end of the weekend performance.
Seascape's venue will offer VIP chairs and tables as well as ground seating for blankets and portable chairs brought by attendees.
"You can go online to purchase and choose where you want to sit," said Jackson.
Each performance will feature three to four artists from around the country, representing different musical genres. From country, pop and rock to blues and R&B, the artists, singers and songwriters come together to tell stories and perform a musical medley that creates a connection with the audience as the stage is constantly shuffling from artist to artist.
“Even if you aren’t a fan of a specific genre, in four or five songs the stage is lighting up with another talented performer from another genre. It’s like shuffling songs on your iTunes. You would be amazed at how many pop fans now like country,” Jackson said noting that past performers of First Note have since gone on to be featured on TV and mainstream radio.
Co-hosting with him will be country music singer, Brian McComas. McComas recently wrapped up the fifth season of “Nashville Unplugged,” a weekly show in Las Vegas, which features singer/songwriters in an intimate setting sharing the stories behind the music. He is also known for his hit, the Billboard Country Top Ten single, “99.9% Sure (I’ve Never Been Here Before)”.
Artists featured during March will be rising stars 10 Steps Back, a group from Georgia who is creating melodious alt-pop and rock music, and Shelly Fairchild, a soul singer whose performances and high energy bring audiences to their feet and singing along. Ray Scott will also be featured. After his success on radio with “Those Jeans,” XM Radio featured Scott as one of their “Highway Finds” in 2013 and his songs are played locally on 98.1 FM country radio.
The first show will be March 14 at Seascape. Gates open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m. For tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket pricing for performances at Seascape start at $25 for general admission, $33.50 for Level 1 seating and $38.50 for VIP seating and half-price tickets are available for youth age 15 and under (must be accompanied by adult).
The Vue's first show is March 16. Tickets are $40 VIP seating (rows 1-6) and $33.50 (rows 7-15). Doors open at 5 p.m. for dining and performance begins at 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, email email@example.com.
Performances will be family friendly.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support and positive feedback from the local community and visitors to the area,” said Jackson. “We knew we wanted to bring the concept back but needed the right partners at the right time.”