Chances are, if you’ve googled #LiveonMass, you’re even more curious than you were before you typed the hashtag into the search bar. Free concerts? Outdoors? Taking over a whole block on Mass St.? What is this wonderful, musical, spirited community event? Who is the mastermind behind the series? Mike Logan, owner of the Granada, was happy to answer these questions. He told me that he has “long wanted to host a free, sponsor-driven, major concert in the 1000 block of Mass.” 2017 proved to be the year that all the pieces fell into place.
“Live on Mass formed after taking a look at other like sized and minded college communities and what they were able to do in the summer and early fall months to get visitors to keep coming to their community,” Logan said. The Granada booked and produced the outdoor component of Free State Festival in 2015 and 2016, bringing in George Clinton + Parliament Funkadelic and Public Enemy. Those events had nearly 7,000 people in attendance and gave the venue an idea of the kind of success an outdoor concert series could have. Of course, to put on a free and sponsor-driven show, the line-up has to been curated while keeping cost in mind. Finding and elevating artists while also being budget-conscious can be tricky, but with a town that supports local, national and international artists, the opportunity for diversity and range is exciting.
“Lawrence has always supported live music and folks in a ninety minute driving radius are very used to seeing some of their favorite acts tour through Lawrence,” Logan said. He also said that the businesses of the 1000 block on Mass are very supportive of the concert series, even if it does not immediately impact their business that day. “We hope that the shows are an added bonus to those that live in Lawrence and want to come out and enjoy along with those thousands of visitors who come from near and far!”
The series has been an outstanding success right from the start, which I believe is a testament to the essence of this town’s character. Bringing art to the streets, created by a whole host of diverse musicians, is a Lawrence dream. Logan hopes to put on three to four shows every year while expanding the series to include sponsored and ticketed events in South Park. Want to be able to tell your kids you went to #LiveonMass when they actually shut down the block? Check below to see who the first two shows of the year are and then mark your calendars!
You guys, this is the Wailers. As in, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett and original guitarists Julian Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey have been keeping Bob Marley’s legend and the spirit of the music alive at his request since 1981. This will be their second #LiveonMass show and word is that they love playing here. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty dang cool that these guys are coming to quirky, creative, open-minded Lawrence to perform in the 1000 block of Massachusetts St. on a beautiful summer evening. Something tells me Bob Marley would have approved.
Split Lip Rayfield with guests Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings:
I’m not sure if you can imagine an intense mash-up of acoustic blues, country lyrics, metal sound and punk sensibilities, but if so, you’ve just conjured up Split Lip Rayfield. The group calls it “thrashgrass” and have been performing this way for the past two decades. They emerged from the very heart of Kansas and will be riling the crowd up all night long. Why not get a head start on celebrating the country’s independence by enjoying a rockin concert in the land that we love?
Kate is a recent KU graduate and perpetual lover of words, details, and Jayhawk basketball. She is using her English degree to write both creatively and strategically. You can find more of her work on her blog, A Story By Me.