PARKERSBURG - Point Park was filled with the sounds of "Fire and Rain: A Tribute to James Taylor" for the start of the 2014 Point Park Music Series Friday night.
While no count of the audience was available, Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB, said the attendance for the first concert of the 2014 edition appeared to be about the same as for the 2013 series.
"We've got 2,200 to 2,300 out for the concert," she said. "We got a great boat crowd out tonight; we normally don't have that many boats but we got a great crowd with the boats."
Greg Pitts, right, and two band members perform at the Point Park Amphitheater as the sun sets Friday during a concert by The James Taylor Experience. The show opened the Summer Music Series in Parkersburg. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Greg Pitts plays his guitar as The James Taylor Experience opens the Summer Music Series Friday in Parkersburg. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
A near capacity crowd gathered at the Point Park Amphitheater area Friday for “Fire and Rain: A Tribute to James Taylor,” which opened the Summer Music Series in Parkersburg. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
A boat moves up the Ohio River near the Point Park Amphitheater stage as a couple walks toward the stage as the concert begins. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Nesselrode said this was the first year for the reserve seating at the concerts.
"We are pleased with how that went and it sold out," she said. "We want people to understand with the reserved seating there are still plenty of great seats available. Having reserved seating helps us keep the concerts free."
George and Karen Campbell of Vienna said they were impressed by the event.
"It's a super event, one you'd be proud to bring any visitors down to this event," she said.
"This place is getting prettier every year," George Campbell said.
"We were here to take a little walk and listen to the music as we walk," she said. "We missed a few last year because we were out of town."
As for the other concerts in the series, Campbell said she was interested in seeing the others especially the "Songs In The Attic: A Tribute to Billy Joel" set for September.
"This is such a good lineup," she said. "Whoever works on this deserves a tremendous amount of acknowledgment and thanks. This is just a first-class event."
Debbie Jeffrey of Washington, W.Va., said she came for not just the music but the riverfront setting.
"We came last year. I just like it with the sun setting and the boats on the water," she said.
Barb Close of Marietta said she made it to just one of the concerts last year, but was hoping to attend more of the 2014 concerts.
"It looks like we'll make it to more of them; we're already making plans to come," she said.
Close said she liked the music and the setting.
"It's a beautiful evening," she said.
DeAnn Cummings said she had been to Point Park for concerts other than the Point Park Music Series.
"We didn't make it to any of this series last year, but we made it here for other concerts," she said. "It's a beautiful venue and a beautiful night with good friends."
Cummings said she's looking forward to attending the other concerts this year, especially the Billy Joel tribute concert for September.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said the attendance for the first concert of the season was better than expected.
"We're very excited; we've got a full house," he said. "They're packed in and they packed in early today."
Newell said the attendance was most likely boosted by the weather.
"We couldn't ask for a better evening for this," he said. "It's a good start for the series. It's always been successful and it gets better each year."
Newell said the credit for setting up the event belongs to Downtown PKB.
"They put this on; the city is just a sponsor," he said. "They book the acts and set everything up."