Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. Menconi's latest book, "Oh, Didn't They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Roots Music," was published in the fall of 2023 by University of North Carolina Press. His podcast, Carolina Calling, explores the history of the Tar Heel State through music.



Live After 5, downtown Raleigh’s long-running outdoor free-concert series, returns to Raleigh’s City Plaza for summer 2024 with another musical concept for this year’s model. Building on 2023’s theme of oldies hits from the 1980s and ’90s, this year’s season has the theme of “A Celebration of Women in Music.”

The Live After 5 shows all take place the final Wednesday of each month through August 2024, scheduled from 5 to 8pm at City Plaza on Fayetteville St.

This year’s series features an array of national as well as regional artists, all female, including Chapel Hill neo-soul singer Elora Dash with dance-club vocalist Azul on June 26; Raleigh singer-songwriter Kate Rhudy paired with Chapel Hill Americana duo Blue Cactus on July 31; and 1990s Texas hitmakers Sixpence None the Richer (of “Kiss Me” and “There She Goes" fame) with Raleigh country singer Brooke Hatala to close the season out on Aug. 28.

The performers will cover a wide range of women artists, from Beyonce and Taylor Swift to Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton. This year’s all-distaff concept came from Lucy McInnis, director of events & development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

“As a woman who works in music, I was super thrilled about the idea,” says Amy Cox, talent buyer and on-site stage manager for Live After 5 producer Deep South Entertainment. “It’s an interesting way to set this apart from the usual Live After 5 structure.”

 

Deep South and Downtown Raleigh Alliance are producers of this year’s Live After 5, with sponsorship by WRAL. In addition to music, the events will feature an array of food, drink and shopping vendors as well as food trucks. Dogs are allowed on the premises, but only if leashed.

Live After 5 is a Sip n’ Stroll event, which means you can carry open alcoholic beverages purchased from sanctioned vendors into and out of the show’s footprint. Coolers with outside drinks are prohibited, however.

All shows are rain or shine, with no makeup dates set. In the event of dangerous weather, Live After 5’s backup venue is indoors at nearby Lincoln Theatre.

"The core of this series coming back is looking to bring people back downtown post-pandemic,” says Cox. “We want to shine a light on all the wonderful downtown businesses, which we need to support to keep the landscape vibrant. Downtown certainly looks different than it did before 2020, and I hope the series continues to drive that home. It’s free, family-friendly and a celebration of women in music.”

 

Upcoming 2024 Live After 5 schedule

  • Wed., June 26 – Eldora Dash, Azul
    • Performing Beyoncé, Adele, Tina Turner, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin
  • Wed., July 31 – Kate Rhudy, Blue Cactus
    • Performing Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt
  • Aug. 28 – Sixpence None the Richer, Brooke Hatala
    •  Sixpence None the Richer will play their own hits. Hatala will cover Fleetwood Mac and Sheryl Crow

 

Other upcoming events and festivals in Raleigh, N.C.

 

Header photo by Shephard Barnes, courtesy of Downtown Raleigh Alliance

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