RIVER PARK CONCERT
River Park Concert is a FREE, volunteer-driven, grassroots, outdoor music event made possible through the cooperation, coordination and support of many local civic, corporate and private entities.
River Park Concert was incubated and managed by the Hillsborough Arts Council 2017-2021, but has blossomed into an independent initiative, now managed by the Triangle Music Alliance (TMA). Hillsborough Arts Council remains an enthusiastic supporter of this wonderful event, and looks forward to attending and participating in ongoing River Park Concerts!
THE HISTORY OF RIVER PARK CONCERT
The River Park Concert we all know and love began in 2015 with the vision from Eric Steidinger to bring a local, free concert to downtown Hillsborough’s River Park, in celebration of our community and love for great music. Eric and his nonprofit, Pleasant Meadow Philanthropy, launched RPC and brought local artists together in 2015, despite a rainstorm that required moving events inside.
In 2016, Eric and Pleasant Meadow produced the 2nd annual River Park Concert, again bringing together local musicians and community for a fun, free, sunny day with clear skies in River Park.
In 2017, the work of producing and organizing the concert moved primarily to the Hillsborough Arts Council. Under HAC's stewardship and the tireless commitment of a small leadership team of local volunteers and music lovers, the concert saw an evolution and exponential growth by combining local, regional, and national musicians. The 2017 concert featured Grammy-Winner Alvin Youngblood Hart, national touring musician Eric Lindell, Seth Walker, and The Walker Family Band.
RPC continued its growth under HAC in 2018, more than doubling attendance and gaining statewide recognition. The lineup included local favorites The Shoaldiggers, Seth Walker, and internationally renowned band The Wood Brothers that were hot off a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album.
In 2019 edition of RPC was the biggest year yet, again seeing growth in attendance by almost double from 2018. The lineup included local band Eno Mountain Boys, acclaimed Atlanta soul band Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, world-renowned guitarist Samantha Fish, and Grammy-Winner Anders Osborne. The growth of the event was not only a success for RPC, but had a major economic impact on the town of Hillsborough having brought in over 6,000 music lovers for the day.
While in preparations for the next annual concert, the world was shuttered by COVID. From 2017-2021 the Hillsborough Arts Council supported, raised funds, and developed this event. What started as an idea with 50 attendees has grown to over 6,000 annual attendees, brought multiple Grammy-winning musicians to our community, and has become one of the marquee events for the Town of Hillsborough (all while remaining completely free). Bringing in a crowd nearly the size of the town’s population has not only been a beautiful day everyone looks forward to annually, it also has had a significant economic impact to our town and local businesses of all sizes.
Producing such a successful event at this scale while maintaining an intrinsic focus on inclusion, accessibility, and diversity has become a model example to other organizations and events in our town and surrounding areas.
Having been wonderful stewards and community leaders of the arts and music, HAC had successfully incubated an idea from concept through to fruition. During COVID, HAC understandably reassessed their strategic capabilities due to the pandemic and determined that due to the significant scale and growth it had become untenable to continue backstopping this signature event as a small local nonprofit. Not wanting to completely cut or scale back the event, HAC approached the leadership team that had been volunteering and organizing the program with the proposal and request to spin RPC out to its own entity so it can continue the growth and impact to our community.
2022 & Beyond
The small team of committed event organizers, having volunteered thousands of hours over the 4 concerts, formed the Triangle Music Alliance (TMA) to continue shepherding the annual event and the goal of uniting the community in music and happiness.
The mission of TMA is to continue to bring great music events to our community, free for everyone, so that anyone regardless of their socioeconomic background can enjoy a beautiful day of music and art in downtown Hillsborough. TMA is also dedicated to highlighting a nonprofit every year and using the "stage" of RPC to raise awareness for their mission and donating funds to support their organization.