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Ashland Folk Collective is staging rolling concerts through town

In this pandemic age, it’s a big treat to see any kind of live concert, let alone a sweet, resonant performance of local folk music artists while lying out (masked and distanced) under warm and colorful dusk skies.

The Ashland Folk Collective is staging rolling concerts, movable music feasts put on by performers mounted on a solar-powered truck.

The whole thing is so spontaneous, organic, delightful and full of community vibes that it’s hard not to stop and listen, chat with friends and even dance. It has the open-air feel of the now-shuttered Britt Festival, but more informal.

“This is bringing music to the people,” said Larry Morningstar. “It’s great. It’s outdoors, and there’s nothing else happening. Even if there were other things to do, this is wonderful, being able to get out and rub elbows with people.”

On Tuesday evening, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., the truck offered Peia & Travis on a circuit of Ashland Creek Park, and yards on nearby Laurel and Helman Streets, followed by performances of the Eight Dollar Mountain Trio at the same spots.

“It’s a great opportunity to be outside and hear live music,” said Beth Nolan. “It’s so creative, just amazing.”

Carly Koerner said, “I enjoy it, bringing my kiddies to different spots around town, safe and enjoyable in lovely weather — and the Collective finds artists with really high performance value.”

Visiting from Boulder, Colorado, Didi Douglas said, “We really enjoy this, and it’s so special your community does it. I wish we had this in Boulder. The acts are so professional, and the money goes right to the artists.”

Starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday will be Alice DiMicele and Ian George & The Well, both acts, sequentially, at Railroad Park on A Street, then the Get ’n Gear parking lot on A at Second Street.

Admission, suggested at $10, happens by passing a can. It appeared Tuesday to be stuffed with bills.

On ashlandfolkcollective.com, founder Jacqui Aubert said the group is determined to enforce safety and warns, “Masks are required. Period. Stay 6 feet away from anyone outside your party. Follow our rules or stay home.” If the audience can’t do distancing, the show may roll onward, she added.

Aubert last year created the nonprofit collective and organizes gigs and shows all over the region, seeking to provide a solid living wage for musicians.

“We’re doing the rolling concerts so people can’t gather into big crowds,” said Aubert. “Everyone is following the rules well, though sometimes I have to call a maskless person out from on stage. We’re trying to be creative during this pandemic — and all our performers are really talented professionals.”

The rolling outdoor concerts are made possible by a trailer-stage and amp-power donated by Solarrolla Electric Vehicles of Ashland. They scheduled four shows based on trailer availability and may add more. Notice will be posted at its website and on Facebook.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Photo by Denise BarattaPeia & Travis perform from the back of a trailer as part of the Ashland Folk Collective traveling mobile show Tuesday in Ashland.