Organizers of an upcoming blues festival hope to raise money to do more renovations and repair to the Capitol Arts Center.
The Capitol Arts Blues Festival will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Arts Center at 416 E. Main Ave. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for VIP tickets and may be purchased by calling the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center box office at 270-904-1880 or online at theskypac.com. All proceeds go to renovating the Capitol Arts Center. The VIP event will be at Corsair Distillery from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will include food from Mellow Mushroom and refreshments from 440 Main. Justin Kalk, a Nashville-based blues/rock guitar artist, will play at Corsair.
Bands scheduled to perform include Ernie Small Blues Band, Michael Gough Group and Shake Rag.
“This is a fundraiser to keep things going at the Capitol. We’re having events there and raising money for repairs and things the facility needs,” said Small, who plays rhythm guitar and sings vocals with Ernie Small Blues Band. “All the tickets go to things the Capitol needs, like emergency lighting and a new generator.”
Small has gotten involved with several people in a community to help keep the Capitol viable. The building is owned by Warren County government and run by SKyPAC.
“We’re doing everything we can to promote more events at the Capitol and to raise money to make sure the Capitol will be there for a long time,” he said. “It’s been there for well over a century. It’s listed on the National Register as a contributing site in the Downtown Bowling Green Commercial District.”
The county just paid to have the roof redone, Small said.
“They’re putting some money into emergency lighting and a new generator. We’re looking to see if we can use solar power for the facility,” he said. “The Capitol needs work on the exterior, the interior, the (heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit). We want to get a new movie screen so we can do movie events.”
Small wants “to keep the Capitol as the centerpiece of downtown entertainment.”
“Not to take anything away from SKyPAC. The Capitol is right for different types of smaller events,” he said. “We want to encourage people who have used the Capitol in the past. We want to keep them coming in. It’s a great opportunity for people to see some good bands and support the Capitol.”
Michael Gough, lead singer and bass player for the Michael Gough Group, and Kevin Lovelace, drummer and vocalist for Shake Rag, agreed that the event is important for people to support.
“The Capitol is a part of southcentral Kentucky history that needs to be preserved,” he said.
The fact that it supports the Capitol was enough for Lovelace to want to be involved.
“We’ve all played in the Capitol over the years. It’s a great historic building that needs help. It’s a beautiful theater,” he said. “We’re happy to be part of it. We were asked to do it and we said yes immediately. We’re looking forward to it.”
Small wants to get Western Kentucky University students involved.
“We’re finding new ways to use the Capitol. They have their bus system that brings them downtown,” he said. “ ‘Lost River Sessions’ is doing events there every month.”
Small helped organize an acoustic music festival in April for the Capitol. He hopes to do another event in the spring, possibly around March.
The important thing is to keep people coming to the Capitol, Small said.
“They’ve had things from dance recitals to Fountain Square Players events,” he said. “We want them to be entertained and see art.”
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