As the summer sun sets, turning the sky a shade of dark orange, and music begins to carry through the streets of Carbondale, residents sense it’s Sunset Concert time.
The 34th Sunset Concert series began Thursday and continues every Thursday until July 26, rotating between the steps of Shryock Auditorium and Turley Park. The series is sponsored by the Student Programming Council, the Student Center, the City of Carbondale and the Carbondale Park District.
The concerts feature a variety of musical genres that include alternative, rock, country, blues, reggae and folk.
Dante Leveritte, concerts director for the Student Programming Council, said the council strives to bring a range of music to Carbondale so everyone can enjoy the series.
Leveritte, who is also the concerts director for the Sunset Concert Committee, said he likes being able to provide a service to the community.
“To know people can come out, hear some music, socialize and enjoy themselves at the events we all worked to plan is a great feeling,” he said.
All concerts are free to the community, thanks to the collaboration of the sponsors.
Each sponsor pays for approximately 25 percent of the series in order to warrant the free admission, said Don Castle, Student Center associate director.
Castle, who is also the Sunset Concert Committee chairman, said the student activity fee helps fund the Student Programming Council’s contribution. He said programming dollars pay for the Student Center’s sponsorship and the city and park district each use funds from within their operating budgets.
He said the four sponsors work together from late January until April to coordinate every aspect from choosing the bands to arranging for porta-potties.
“There are at least 2,000 people out there every Thursday having a good time,” Castle said. “It shows people still care about and enjoy the Sunset Concerts. It’s those people that keep this series alive.”
Leveritte said the collaboration between the university and the Carbondale community shows more than just a shared interest in providing a fun atmosphere year-after-year. He said it represents a shared outlook on success and a shared belief in what the concerts mean to the community.
“It shows unity and teamwork between the college and the community that surrounds it,” Leveritte said.