Neighbors brought out the lawn chairs and picnic blankets to Veterans Park across from South Side Elementary School on Southwest Avenue to sit a spell in the shade and listen to the Empty Bottle String Band, a bluegrass band that originally started at East Tennessee State University.
The South Side Neighborhood Organization’s Music in the Park Series takes place the second Sunday of each month from 3-5 p.m. The concerts, organized for the community, continue through August.
The responsibility for the concert series has passed through several hands throughout the 12 years it's been around. This year, the responsibility is in the hands of Jeff Elkins, a Tree Streets resident who moved to the neighborhood about a year and half ago. He’s the chairman of the Music in the Park committee.
Elkins said he makes a point to go and watch regional bands play to see who he'd like to try to book, and they’re not always bluegrass.
"We try not to rebook bands. We try to rotate because there's so much good music in this area," said Elkins.
While the Empty Bottle String Band opened the series, other bands scheduled to play this summer are The Aaron Jaxon Band and Bill & the Belles. The Aaron Jaxon is up next on July 8 at the same time and same place.
Along with the free live music, the neighborhood was also treated to delicious pies provided by one member of the band, Stephanie Jeter, whose award-winning pies were sold by the slice. Jeter, who has won the title of Master Pie Baker at the Appalachian Fair the past three years, brought with her a chocolate pie, a strawberry pie and a salted caramel pecan pie that looked almost too good to cut.
But more than music, the concert series is, according to Doug Buda of the neighborhood organization, a way for neighbors and the community to bond.
Buda says the neighborhood is really close and many of the residents are friends you can wave to while you walk down the sidewalk.
"It's just like an old neighborhood the way neighborhoods were built to be with friendly neighbors and we all watch each other's back and take care of each other," Buda said.
For more information on neighborhood events in the South Side Neighborhood, visit www.tree-streets.com.