Durham's new free outdoor summer concert series announces lineup | Music

Durham's new free outdoor summer concert series announces lineup

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Back at work: Tess Mangum Ocaña
  • Back at work: Tess Mangum Ocaña

“The key thing was to hit the ground running,” Tess Mangum Ocaña says of getting laid off from her job as The ArtsCenter’s music programmer just months after winning an INDY Arts Award for it. And she did just that, recently becoming the special events coordinator for Downtown Durham Inc. She launches its new summer concert series, “Find Your Cool,” on May 9 in CCB Plaza, and the full lineup has just been announced.

Ocaña was known for bringing national treasures to The ArtsCenter, with her final American Roots Series there featuring Mavis Staples and Dr. John. But “Find Your Cool” focuses on local talent at the behest of Downtown Durham Inc. The genres covered include Americana, soul, rock, country, blues, salsa, gypsy jazz and the West African dance music of Diali Cissokho. “This series gives me the opportunity to reach out to young performers I’d never worked with before,” Ocaña says, “such as [Pittsboro’s] Sarah Shook & the Devil.”

“Find Your Cool” concerts are always free, and a new summer ale from Bull City Burger & Brewery debuts at the first concert and will be available throughout the series. The idea is to make CCB Plaza the place to be on Thursday nights—with its landmark-friendly, Durham-proud bronze bull. “I wanted the series to be fun and funky,” Ocaña says. “Eclectic. All-ages. Something that highlights the Triangle’s incredible music scene, with some nights, such as Orquestra GarDel and Diali Cissohko, being highly danceable.”

All concerts run from 7—8:30 p.m. The full schedule is as follows:

Jo Gore & the Alternative — May 9
Onyx Club Boys — May 16
Sarah Shook & the Devil — May 23
Virgins Family Band — May 30
The Pinkerton Raid — June 6
Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos — June 13
Dark Water Rising — June 20
Orquesta GarDel — June 27
Cyril Lance Collective Arkestra — July 11
Jonathan Byrd — July 18
Birds & Arrows — July 25
The Fair and the Foul — August 1
Khalat Africa feat. Diali Cissokho — August 8

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