Wilson NC Concert Series, Gig in the Park, Kicks Off Apr. 18

Dancing at Whirligig Park in 2017. Source: Susan Kellum, City of Wilson NC
Dancing at Whirligig Park in 2017. Source: Susan Kellum, City of Wilson NC

Historic Downtown Wilson begins its Spring concert series with The Embers featuring Craig Woolard. This opening concert kicks off the season of free, live music at a new location: Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park.

This year, the “Downtown Alive” events are renamed “Gig in The Park” — a double entendre referring to the city’s famous Whirligigs and, of course, a “gig” being a live musical performance.

In previous years, Downtown Alive events were held in a grassy lot along Tarboro Street.  The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, which opened in November 2017, will host the city’s 2018 Spring concert series. The Whirligig Park address — as if you could miss the towering, twirling creations — is 301 Goldsboro Street S, Wilson, North Carolina.

Gig in the Park will be presented on Wednesday evenings, starting at 6:30pm and ending around 9:30pm.  The free, five-concert season runs every-other Wednesday from April 18 through June 13, 2018.

Who was Vollis Simpson?  (New to the area, aren’t you? He’s famous here.) Mr. Vollis Simpson was a welder, recycler and outside-the-box artist. He became known for his “whirligigs” — moving works of art made from bits of salvaged metal. Visit the Whirligig Park’s website to watch a video of Mr. Simpson and read more of his story. His kinetic creations were gathered to create the park in Wilson NC, though whirligigs may be found in other parts of the state and nation. Mr. Simpson passed away on May 31, 2013, in his nearby home in Lucama NC.

His whirligigs were declared the official “folk art” of the state by the North Carolina General Assembly.

G.S. § 145-45. State folk art.
The whirligigs created by Vollis Simpson are adopted as the official folk art of the State of
North Carolina. (2013-189, s. 1.)

Organized by the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation, events in Historic Downtown Wilson may be found at www.HistoricDowntownWilson.com and on Facebook here. Support for Gig in The Park is provided by the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation, Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, and local business sponsors.


Gig in the Park

The musical series schedule combines east coast beach music, classic rock, R&B, reggae, country, and more to offer something for everyone.

Food trucks will offer snacks and drinks for sale, plus optional dancing, kids activities, and cold drinks. Events are family friendly, with spaces to stretch out, sit down, or relax in the shade.

The 2018 schedule includes:

  • April 18, 2018:  The Embers featuring Craig Woolard
  • May 2, 2018:  Band Of Oz
  • May 16, 2018:  Nantucket Band
  • May 30, 2018:  Mystic Vibrations
  • June 13, 2018:  The Legacy Motown Revue

Updates to dates or bands, including potential weather postponements, will be posted to the Historic Downtown Wilson Facebook page.


Ed. Note: Thank you to Susan Kellum for her assistance with details and the photograph.


Gig In The Park sign showing 2018 sponsors including The Grey Area News. Source: Susan Kellum
Gig In The Park sign showing 2018 sponsors including The Grey Area News. Source: Susan Kellum
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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.