There were multiple live performances on campus over the inauguration and Family Weekend as part of the celebration for Harding’s sixth president.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, Campus Life brought in the band DOUBLECAMP to perform in Bison Park. The event was open to the community and had food trucks parked nearby. Many concert goers were crowded near the stage, while others were spread across the grass, sitting on blankets and lawn chairs.
Since this was a public outdoor event, there was a noticeable public safety presence. Officer Alan Ely said they expected it to be a relatively calm environment, but were there should any incidents arise.
Campus Life director Abby Stinnett said that over the summer, President Mike Williams told her he would love to have some entertainment for inauguration weekend. He planned for Thursday to be all about the students and wanted something fun for that evening. Stinnett knew exactly who to bring back.
The band DOUBLECAMP opened for the COIN concert last fall, and according to Stinnett, they really enjoyed the experience and said they would love to come back if Campus Life ever wanted them to.
The duo consists of lead singer Joe Neary and guitarist Jordan Burmeister. They also brought a musician named Hayden Cotcher to play drums for the show.
“They are really fun,” Stinnett said. “They’re super chatty, and they’re just excited to perform live music.”
On Sept. 16, the Harding Department of Music brought in the bluegrass band Cedar Hill as part of their Arts & Life Performance Series.
The classical bluegrass group is made up of five members: DJ Shumate on banjo, Dalton Harper on guitar, Frank Ray on mandolin, Patty LaFleur on bass and Pete Brown on Fiddle. The band was also joined by special guest musician Tim Crouch who primarily played fiddle but also brought out his acoustic bass guitar for a couple of songs.
While introducing the band, Dr. Jay Walls, director of the Arts & Life series, said the group performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and have provided entertainment in Arkansas and abroad since 1967.”
Cedar Hill walked out on stage to much applause from the audience, and founding member of the band Frank Ray said into his mic, “y’all ready to have some fun?” before they launched into their first song.
The energy was kept up throughout the show as audience members cheered after every solo and several clapped along to the beat.
Walls also said the members of Cedar Hill write many original songs to perform.
“On a special weekend such as this for Harding, we’re honored to present this concert of outstanding artists from right here in Arkansas, and we’re blessed to have them with us,” Walls said.