Archives for posts with tag: City Plaza

The 2014 edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh was another huge success. On Sun., June 1, more than 2,000 athletes were up for the challenge of a 1.2-mile swim at Jordan Lake, a 56-mile bike through western Wake County into downtown Raleigh and capped with a 13.1-mile run out and back on Hillsborough St. before finishing in City Plaza downtown.

Some photos from the race (photos via Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance; click to view full size):

Low 60's and beautiful at Jordan Lake to start the race

Low 60’s and beautiful at Jordan Lake to start the race

More than 1,000 volunteers make the event possible

More than 1,000 volunteers make the event possible

Athletes warm up in the water before the official race start

Athletes warm up in the water before the official race start

Athletes start the race in waves of 30-50 participants at a time

Athletes start the race in waves of 30-50 participants at a time

Volunteers help keep everyone safe!

Volunteers help keep everyone safe!

Transitioning from the swim to the bike

Transitioning from the swim to the bike

56-mile trek into downtown Raleigh

56-mile trek into downtown Raleigh

Smooth roads on a clear day

Smooth roads on a clear day

Run through downtown Raleigh

Run through downtown Raleigh

Amy marsh

Amy Marsh is the #IM703Raleigh female winner! (this photo via IRONMAN)

A cool Carolina breeze and great live music always puts a smile on my face. And I was grinning ear to ear when I went to the first Oak City 7 event of the summer this Thurs. (it happens every other Thurs. of the summer until Aug. 22). The organizers of the event call the event “Downtown Raleigh’s Free Summer Concert Series.”

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When I initially heard about the series, four parts of that phrase stuck out to me:

Downtown Raleigh: The downtown area of North Carolina’s capital city is a hot place to catch live music. City Plaza is where the event is held, and the area screams art and creativity with its public art and super-nice layout. The view up and down Fayetteville St. rocks, as you really feel and know that you’re in the center of a place alive with activity and charm.

Free: Those looking for a night out on a small budget can enjoy great live music with no admission cost.

Summer: The summer of music in Greater Raleigh (Music Mania) has the best of music events, and this is one of them. I know, personally, that I’ll be attending as many of these as I can! N.C.’s summer weather allows for cool evenings where you can catch some of the best local talent. If you break a sweat while dancing, you can always cool off with local brews and refuel with food from downtown restaurants and food trucks.

Concert: When I hear the word my ears perk up. The killer lineup alone is great. I immediately recognized some local bands on the list that I’ve heard, seen live and have a tremendous amount of respect for as a musician.

Not only do you get a great show with some really talented musicians, but you get the opportunity to try delicious local beer and food from local food trucks.

ImageA beer truck serves brews from local breweries Aviator Brewing Company, Big Boss Brewing Company, Lonerider Brewing Company and more. Food trucks also serve cuisine from Carolina barbecue, pizza, ice cream and more. I definitely recommend to go with an appetite and, if you’re a craft beer lover, a mindset to taste some great brews!

ImageBeing a true Music Maniac myself, seeing a vinyl record vendor at the event was super cool. The Record Exchange & Swap, normally located at Deep South The Bar, had a nice collection of records for sale at the event, including records ranging from Fleetwood Mac, to Lou Reed, to Living Colour and more. Also, obviously being a true fan of Raleigh, the House of Swank! vendor caught my attention with Raleigh t-shirts, N.C. t-shirts and other merchandise sporting the name of N.C.’s capital city.

Most of all, the live music itself was outstanding! The sound system is nice and loud with a crisp and clear overall tone. It’s definitely a sound system any musician would want to play through. The lineup Thurs. night, May 30, featured a great mix of genres from city blues to Latin dance, indie rock and country rock; music that influenced the crowd to start dancing and jamming with the music!

ImageA great lineup is in store for the Oak City 7 series. Check it out here! This is definitely an event you won’t want to miss.

This entry was written by Derek Chase Allman, Music Maniac, musician, songwriter and senior marketing manager at visitRaleigh.

Last Friday marked the First Friday of the month, which means that once more people flocked in droves to downtown Raleigh for a lively night of art, culture, food and drink. First Friday is easy to remember without your online scheduler since it not surprisingly occurs on the first Friday night of every month and never disappoints as a reliable evening of cultural and social bliss. It functions as a self-guided tour through downtown Raleigh’s cultural hotspots and art spaces. Almost every gallery and studio art space has something special planned. Most galleries premier an exhibition opening and host a reception to which the entire public is welcome to enjoy art and libations. Galleries are open late, on average until 9 or 10pm.

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There is always something novel to be experienced at First Friday. Local artists always have new artwork on display and there is always a fresh, new month of events to celebrate. We are now in the midst of full-on holiday season and Fayetteville Street is adorned by thousands of tiny fairy lights. There is an ice skating rink in City Plaza to enjoy, and it’s easy to get lost in the night while wandering through the dreamy streets of twinkles, tall buildings, bustling eateries and lively art galleries full of jolly patrons.

Last weekend at December’s First Friday, true to form, Artspace’s historic hallways in City Market were packed with art-lovers of all ages. A bizarre and wonderful exhibition of mushroom art by Shannon Newby drew visitors to the lobby. Artspace’s current Community Artist-in-Residence, Tisha Weddington, was also a huge hit. Her paintings display a surreal and sensual world of human and animal oddities, and are on display through December.

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In an underground gallery known as The Fish Market, below Fayetteville Street, the NC State Department of Art + Design held its annual senior exit show. The Fish Market gallery space is owned by the university and functions as a student gallery, exhibiting student work every First Friday.  This month the basement lair is filled with examples of creative textile design, handcrafted metalwork jewelry, animation, storybook illustration, photography and more.

Though I only caught glimpse of it through a window on Hargett Street, I was swooning for Nicole Kennedy’s series of paintings: The Carolina Ballet on Canvas. The series features delicate Degas-esque paintings in pastels that are so pretty it’s impossible not to linger. A few of the paintings were inspired by the Ballet’s current show The Nutcracker. The series is being shown at Caffé Luna, the restaurant owned by Nicole’s husband, Parker Kennedy. Nicole’s work can also be seen at her gallery, Nicole’s Studio, on North Person Street.

LetItSnow

311 West Martin Street Gallery and Studios, a co-op style gallery and studio space, located on the west side of Fayetteville Street in the Warehouse District, was open providing an after-hours opportunity to catch of a glimpse new art. The studio houses 14 tenant artist spaces and also has showing space for non-tenant local artists. Don’t miss 311’s Becky Loye, whose In Search of Lightness series is a personal favorite.

For more information on First Friday events, visit here. And if you haven’t already, get yourself down to Fayetteville Street before the holiday season flies by and make sure not to miss celebrating the New Year at next month’s First Friday set for January 4, 2013!

If you found yourself anywhere near downtown this weekend, chances are you experienced at least a morsel of Hopscotch Music Festival. Gigs were taking place from noon to late-night all weekend long — 175 bands, 15 venues, 3 days. That’s a lot of music and whole lot of energy.

 Hopscotch Day Parties were a huge hit, featuring an assemblage of local bands playing at hotspots around town for free. The weather was beautiful and good vibes abundant. Friday afternoon outside of the Contemporary Art Museum, The Love Language, an indie rock band straight out of Raleigh, gathered a sizeable crowd in the street between tables pushing PBR and local food trucks. The next day, in front of Raleigh Times, hip-hop group Kooley High seriously repped the City of Oaks leading a spontaneous NC State cheer and dropping songs like “Dear Raleigh”. A few minutes later, one street over in front of the Mecca, folk-rock group Megafaun pleased the crowd accompanied by Adam Granduciel from War on Drugs.

At the post-5 pm shows, wristbands were needed for entry. I tried to keep it local as much as possible, seeing Durham-based Lilac Shadows at King’s and Raleigh’s Birds of Avalon at Tir Na Nog. Other notable experiences included bigger names from more distant locales like Deerhoof, who lit up Memorial Auditorium Thursday night, Thee Oh Sees, who had a crowd going nuts late-night at CAM, and of course headliners The Roots, who braved inclement weather to play for the masses at City Plaza Saturday night.

On more than one occasion I didn’t quite make it to a show that I had sworn I would attend. More than a couple of times I needed to take a step back and re-center to keep from stressing over what I was possibly missing. At a festival jam-packed with worthy acts it is sometimes necessary to reimagine your schedule and make tradeoffs. Wander in to see a group you weren’t previously familiar with and you may just walk away with a favorite new band. That’s the beauty of Hopscotch.


After much time spent weaving through a sea of hipsters I couldn’t help but think that Raleigh had finally “made it.” Maybe it was because I was previously a Hopscotch newbie and had yet to experience such a weekend in my hometown, but I emerged on Sunday with a serious case of Raleigh pride. All weekend, one could sense the surreal bubble that had descended here as an amazing and diverse group of people fellowshipped for three straight days under a common love of music.

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