My father once told me the two best ways to bring people together were food and music. While we all have our own reasons for loving the two, more often than not they trigger nostalgia. As a form of communication, music is a preemptive opportunity for literacy preparation for the young. Whether singing, playing, or listening, children hear in new ways. Through that communication they connect with peers regardless of race or gender. For the mature, "Where words fail, music speaks."
Thursday evening at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters ( an old-school country roots attitude with shared influences of rock and folk, comprised of Matt Smith on pedal steel/ Stratocaster, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums/harmony vocals, and Evan Martin on keys/Telecast ) delivered the much needed ingredient for a recipe of sentimentality this Father's Day weekend.
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For what archaeologists roughly believe to be 55,000 years, that quote is rooted in every culture's relationship with music throughout its inception, regardless of age, political beliefs, or religion. While music varies, regarded as "sophisticated" or "primitive", it seems to emerge from beyond our human capacity to fully comprehend the nature of its existence. We certainly don't need a degree in music therapy to understand why music is an intrinsic piece of our existence, some would say just as eating or breathing.
Music is an audio form of art whose benefits have been proven to reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and also alleviate depression in the elderly. Is it any wonder then that communities like Gastonia, Belmont, and Charlotte, North Carolina, come together through music festivals or Summer Concert Series?
These concerts have proven to dissolve the tension so associated with our current times. While they evoke memorie of our own experiences, what about the psychological aspect of a person or community's wellbeing? We probably wouldn't consider that aside from our own anticipation of the event; however, studies are emerging to show that the engagement at music festivals is proving an effective means of engaging individuals as well as communities. Concerts already reflect a shared sense of appreciation!
In a 2005 study by Fredrickson & Losada, "levels of wellbeing are costly to an individual’s health, social interactions, and daily life, and also in terms of economy and productivity for society and organisation". The only thing that can contribute to the wellbeing of these concert goers is accessibility to food!
Low and behold, there's plenty of that available from the River’s Edge, offering a wide selection of food, beer, and wine inside or on the patio. Or, you can opt for the Pump House Biergarten for craft beers on tap and a variety of made-to-order food options. Like food trucks? Burgers, hot dogs, chips, and beer are all available near Vendor Village and just across the bridge from the River Jam stage.
The two best ways to bring people together are food and music. U.S. National Whitewater Center has it right in all aspects, providing an opportunity for people to socially interact in the presence of both. A study by Packer and Ballantyne in 2010 questioned attendees to garner the positive effects, "92% of participants agreed with the statement 'feel I have accomplished something” [. . .]
Psychology Today, (Jan 20, 2012) Richard E. Cytowic, MD, MFA, wrote "the key to self-esteem is accomplishment. Afterall, a true fisherman wants to catch his own fish, not be handed one." By providing river-goers a place for their own catch of the day, the U.S. National Whitewater Center gets it. And you should too.
Afterall, Father knows best!
River Jam is 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, May - September; select Festivals.
Price: Free ($6 per vehicle parking fee - Musician Schedule ).
Of course my father always knew best; especially in hindsight.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. You are missed.