A cool Carolina breeze and great live music always puts a smile on my face. And I was grinning ear to ear when I went to the first Oak City 7 event of the summer this Thurs. (it happens every other Thurs. of the summer until Aug. 22). The organizers of the event call the event "Downtown Raleigh's Free Summer Concert Series."


When I initially heard about the series, four parts of that phrase stuck out to me:

Downtown Raleigh: The downtown area of North Carolina's capital city is a hot place to catch live music. City Plaza is where the event is held, and the area screams art and creativity with its public art and super-nice layout. The view up and down Fayetteville St. rocks, as you really feel and know that you're in the center of a place alive with activity and charm.

Free: Those looking for a night out on a small budget can enjoy great live music with no admission cost.

Summer: The summer of music in Greater Raleigh (Music Mania) has the best of music events, and this is one of them. I know, personally, that I'll be attending as many of these as I can! N.C.'s summer weather allows for cool evenings where you can catch some of the best local talent. If you break a sweat while dancing, you can always cool off with local brews and refuel with food from downtown restaurants and food trucks.

Concert: When I hear the word my ears perk up. The killer lineup alone is great. I immediately recognized some local bands on the list that I've heard, seen live and have a tremendous amount of respect for as a musician.

Not only do you get a great show with some really talented musicians, but you get the opportunity to try delicious local beer and food from local food trucks.

ImageA beer truck serves brews from local breweries Aviator Brewing Company, Big Boss Brewing Company, Lonerider Brewing Company and more. Food trucks also serve cuisine from Carolina barbecue, pizza, ice cream and more. I definitely recommend to go with an appetite and, if you're a craft beer lover, a mindset to taste some great brews!

ImageBeing a true Music Maniac myself, seeing a vinyl record vendor at the event was super cool. The Record Exchange & Swap, normally located at Deep South The Bar, had a nice collection of records for sale at the event, including records ranging from Fleetwood Mac, to Lou Reed, to Living Colour and more. Also, obviously being a true fan of Raleigh, the House of Swank! vendor caught my attention with Raleigh t-shirts, N.C. t-shirts and other merchandise sporting the name of N.C.'s capital city.

Most of all, the live music itself was outstanding! The sound system is nice and loud with a crisp and clear overall tone. It's definitely a sound system any musician would want to play through. The lineup Thurs. night, May 30, featured a great mix of genres from city blues to Latin dance, indie rock and country rock; music that influenced the crowd to start dancing and jamming with the music!

ImageA great lineup is in store for the Oak City 7 series. Check it out here! This is definitely an event you won't want to miss.

This entry was written by Derek Chase Allman, Music Maniac, musician, songwriter and senior marketing manager at visitRaleigh.