‘The streets were basically full of people’
Organizers, store owners tout Friday Night Live

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

June 10, 2014

People gather Friday evening to admire the 10-foot guitars created by Waukesha art students. Four giant guitars and many playable guitars were painted by students throughout Waukesha.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA - Friday night’s first Friday Night Live music festival of the season was one of the most successful in recent memory, according to organizers and shop owners downtown.

Thousands of people flocked to downtown Waukesha to hear a variety of music from nine stages on the inaugural night of the festival’s 2014 season.

“The streets were basically full of people,” said Norm Bruce, president of the Downtown Business Association, the organization that puts on the weekly Friday evening event.

Local shop owners were also thrilled with the first edition of the festival, which runs every Friday evening between now and the end of September.

“Friday Night was spectacular. From my point of view, we had more people than we have ever seen on  a Friday evening,” said Karen White, owner of Little Swiss Clock Shop.

“We saw so many new faces come in and visit our store. We’re always open on Friday evenings year-round, but some Friday evenings it can get a little lonely in here. During the time of Friday Night Live, things are really perked up.”

Lou Pallo performs as part of the Les Paul Trio Friday night during the GuitarTown event at Waukesha’s Friday Night Live.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

The festival isn’t just nice for business owners. For many, Friday Night Live is important for their bottom line.

“We rely on our summers and our Friday Night Lives here,” said Katie Schultz, manager of Bangles and Bags. “That’s what keeps us going.”

Also Friday night, the third phase of Waukesha GuitarTown kicked off with a custard social honoring the students from the 27 public and private schools that helped design and paint their own Les Paul Gibson guitars.

The four large and 26 regulation-sized guitars were displayed under a colossal tent downtown on Friday night, but Bruce said not to worry - that wasn’t your last chance to check out the one-of-a-kind pieces of art.

“Every Friday night we’ll have three schools whose guitars will be featured,” Bruce said. “It will be their special night of attention.”

This Friday night, guitars from Waukesha North High School, Prairie Elementary School and Meadowbrook Elementary School will be featured in downtown Waukesha.

* Couldn’t make it to Waukesha’s Friday Night Live last week? Check out the sights and sounds of the first event of the year here: http://bit.ly/FirstFNL

* Hear our full conversation with Jim Wysocki, Les Paul’s longtime friend, here: http://bit.ly/WysockiLP


Email: spryor@conleynet.com