When Chant Duplantier takes the stage Friday night, July 7, in The Shops at Lakeside, the Lakeside Music Series will celebrate a year on the Flower Mound music scene.
“It has brought so many people here that may never have come otherwise,” said Richard Baldwin, owner of Epic Gelato, which sits adjacent to the plaza. “We see a quantifiable increase in traffic as a result of the series, especially when the most popular acts perform.”
Originally dubbed the “Summer Music Series,” the Friday night event grew out of a desire by shop owners to generate traffic for and awareness of The Shops at Lakeside.
Of the options discussed, the owners of the shops were swayed by a plan for a weekly music series devised primarily by Mercy Little, proprietor of In the Box Pack & Ship.
How could they trust that it would work?
Like many proprietors in the Shops at Lakeside, Little brought a rich background of experience and accomplishments to her startup.
Of particular relevance to this assignment, Little’s resume included a history of planning events on a grand scale as director of client services for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The plan for a music series received enthusiastic support from the management of The Shops at Lakeside (in particular, Jimmy Archie, managing partner of Realty Capital, master developer of Lakeside DFW).
She contacted Michael Clay of the Texas Music Project to book the performers (along with some recommended by shop owners) and food trucks to provide food and drinks.
But as the July 8 debut approached, she recognized a problem.
“Standing out in the plaza late one day before the first performance,” Little remembered, “the sun hit me and I realized our performers would be sweltering on the long July and August nights.”
Archie came to the rescue. By the time of the first performance, six full-grown trees (four live oaks and two red oaks) were transplanted from Lakeside DFW’s tree farm to the plaza. A few months later, lights were added to the trees.
“The trees and lights transformed the plaza,” said Little.
In addition to Little and Archie, other shop owners pitched in to help out. Orlando Rojas of The Lodge Barbershop and Glenn Olsen of Bottle & Bottega helped with chores and store owners kept their doors open to greet attendees.
Crystal Yates headlined the first performance on July 8, and the turnout surprised everyone one. Since then, the series has brought a wide range of musical genres to the stage in the plaza, including new age and jazz.
On Friday night’s one-year anniversary, Chant Duplantier will bring a jazz guitar sound to Lakeside. You also can expect some savory covers, including “Purple Rain,” “All of Me,” and “Sara Smile.”
The original idea had been to run the music series through the end of August (thus the name “Summer Music Series”) when, many argued, interest would wane as the high school football season kicked off.
But attendance remained strong throughout the hottest nights in August and it was decided that the figures warranted continuing the series until the weather turned cold.
It proved a sage decision. The average attendance during the first year has been estimated at 125 to 150, with some crowds exceeding the 200 mark (even more when factoring in diners on the patio of Mio Nonno’s).
Many attendees who have become regulars say the series had become their go-to Friday night event.