Concerts and music festivals are commonplace during the spring and summer, and the Harrison County Commission is making an effort to showcase local talent. From now through August, you may hear music if you pass by the Harrison County Courthouse, and the performers would love it if you stopped by to listen.
While it isn't a nationally renowned music festival like Coachella, Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo, "Noon Tunes On The Plaza" offers something local up-and-coming performers need: exposure.
"There are so few places you can really play, that having this opportunity to come out and play at this time of day for this type of a crowd, is incredible for a young person," said Mark Hamrick, who performed Wednesday.
Hamrick plays guitar alongside legendary fiddler Johnny Cochran, meaning exposure is not currently an issue for him. But take one look at the upcoming schedule, and you can find a number of local performers looking for their big break. Harrison County Commissioner Ron Watson championed Noon Tunes on the Plaza, and said that was the biggest motivation behind the idea.
"Why not do something during the noon hour that would inspire people to come by and also give an opportunity for local talent to be showcased," Watson said.
Jimmy Gamelli is next week's performer. He, too, has had a successful career, performing in music hotbeds like Chicago and Nashville. But he said it's not the city that makes the performer.
"You don't have to go to Las Vegas or to Branson you've got great talent right around here and it's close by," Gamelli said.
The free performances are something residents can get excited for. But with many of the performers suffering from a lack of exposure, how will the public know if it's worthwhile to stop by to listen? Watson said there's an easy solution.
"You want to see what kind of entertainment it is, go on YouTube, go on their Facebook," Watson said. "It gives the opportunity to say, 'well, you know, who is this?'"
The Noon Tunes on the Plaza will feature a local performer each Wednesday, with genres ranging from country to soft rock.