May 29—Back in February, 89% of 535 people polled by Joplin's community arts agency — Connect2Culture — indicated they felt safe enough to attend live, outdoor entertainment events this summer, despite ongoing COVID-19 dangers.
Next Saturday evening, they'll receive that opportunity.
Farewell Angelina, an all-female country group, will go live at 7 p.m. on Joplin Empire Market's outdoor stage, 931 E. Fourth St.
"It's a start," said Emily Frankoski, Connect2Culture director, when asked if the the weekend concert indicated the pandemic was now in Joplin's rearview mirror. "We still have a ways to go, but we are pleased to get back to providing live, in-person entertainment.
"Farewell Angelina was actually a performance previously booked, and contract signed, before the pandemic in 2019. We kept rescheduling and rescheduling again," she continued. "When all was said and done, we were faced with holding it this summer or pushing it back to sometime next year. With the positive feedback received from (the Joplin Area Audience Assessment Survey), we said, 'People are ready — let's go for it.' We are glad we did."
The band — consisting of Ashely Gearing, Andrea Young and Springfield, Missouri, native Nicole Witt — is named after a mid-1960s song written by Bob Dylan and recorded by Joan Baez; the trio blends harmonic vocals with a combination of violins and guitars.
"They are all extremely talented in their own right — great vocals, multi-instrumentalists and songwriters — but when they perform together, the magic of their blended voices is undeniable," said Frankoski, who first heard of the band when they performed at the Arts Midwest Conference in 2019. "Talk about harmonies — their music is fun and upbeat. Underneath it all you can tell they are the best of friends and thrive off the energy of their friendship."
Since seeing them play in person, she said, "they have continued to gain traction as up-and-coming country artists and perform for sold-out shows worldwide."
The show will be a "great way to kick off summertime," Frankoski said. Both a food truck and adult beverages will be available during the show, she added.
As for the Empire Market, "we have wanted to collaborate with (them) for some time now, and I think it will be a perfect venue," she said. "The Courtyard is a nice mix of industrial, rustic and festive — who doesn't love twinkle lights? — perfect for a country show."
Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door, with children 12 and younger admitted free. Audience members must bring their own lawn chairs. Tickets can be purchased at www.connect2 culture.org or by calling 417-501-5550.
"We hope those who join us on June 5 will walk away feeling refreshed and invigorated," Frankoski said. "It's time to let loose."