VALDOSTA – The smell of barbecue was in the air and the sound of R&B/soul music blared through Downtown Valdosta Monday. 

A crowd gathered on the historic Lowndes County Courthouse lawn for opening day of the Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series.

Community members sat at tables and ate together while others were seen dancing to a performance by the Goodtime Jr. Music Shed.

Food was provided by Big Nick’s on Baytree and Jessie’s Restaurant and Catering.

The Gatchells, frequent visitors of the concert series for the last seven years, were gathered on a picnic blanket listening to music and eating sub sandwiches.

“We come every year,” Tricia Gatchell said. “It’s good free entertainment for the kids.”

The family of four said they enjoy family-oriented, community-based outside activities, she said.

“I wish we’d do more things like this,” Tricia Gatchell said.

While in line to order her food, Cherry Baynard, a former Valdosta resident, was seen dancing as Goodtime played.

In Valdosta visiting her daughter, Baynard said she supports the concert series annually because of the “good music” and the “good soul food.”

The community atmosphere was what organizers envisioned when creating the Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series, said Rachel Thrasher, Valdosta Main Street program coordinator.

“It’s just something that we want to do to create a community feel for Downtown Valdosta and within the city,” she said. “People always (see) music as common ground no matter what so that’s kind of the idea behind that.”

Thrasher said everyone is welcome to attend the free concert.

It continues each day 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., with Sonic Boom performing Tuesday, May 7; Naturally Southern, Wednesday, May 8; Derrick Dove and the Peacekeepers, Thursday, May 9; and 41 South, Friday, May 10. 

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