Freeman Stage at Bayside ticket sales open with a flurry

SELBYVILLE — The Freeman Stage at Bayside’s fan-tastic popularity was evident 24 hours into the opening of ticket sales for the 2016 season.

In just one day, two of the 13 scheduled national recording artist acts – Huey Lewis and the News, and The Band Perry – were sold out.

In addition, tickets for Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles also sold out April 4 on the first day.

“The arts are alive in well in Sussex County,” proclaimed Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation in an April 5 presentation to Sussex County Council

The schedule, announced recently by the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, will feature a diverse offering of dance, theatre, children’s performances and live music along with 13 national recording artists.

National acts include: Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson on June 29; Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on July 2; The Band Perry on July 3; Justin Moore on July 7; Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge on July 13; The Beach Boys on July 14; Cherry Poppin’ Daddies on July 16; Huey Lewis and The News on July 27; The Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma on Aug. 10; Gladys Knight on Aug. 19 and the Wailers on Aug. 27.

This year’s performers feature three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, nearly 40 Grammy Award winners, more than 60 Grammy nominations; one Academy Award and two Oscars nominations; and three Country Music Association awards plus nine CMA nominations.

Tickets for all performances went on sale on Monday, April 4.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the variety of artists that our ninth season will offer to our guests,” said Ms. Grimes. “We hope the performances in 2016 will expose new patrons to our diverse offerings and the importance of arts in the community, while continuing to be an inspiration for generations of families to come together for lifelong memories.”

With the support of local organizations such as Season Sponsors that include Sarah Chase Carlson, Schell Brothers, The Meltzer Group and the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, the Freeman Stage is able to offer performances for all ages to enjoy.

The Saturday morning children’s series will continue as well, thanks to its sponsor, PNC Foundation.

“It’s these kind of partnerships that are necessary for the continued success of our mission at The Freeman Stage at Bayside and in our communities,” Ms. Grimes said.

Crowd favorites who will once again grace the stage include the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the First State Ballet, Clear Space Theatre and the Bronx Wanderers. Tribute acts include Hotel California — A Salute to the Eagles; ABBA the Concert: A Tribute to ABBA; Classic Albums Live: David Bowie and A Temptations Revue featuring Bo Henderson. “Locals Under the Lights,” where local artists have their moment in the spotlight, will also be back this summer.

Performers new to the outdoor stage include Jessie’s Girl, The Company Men and Tiempo Libre.

On Sept. 9, Bruce in the USA, a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tribute act, will perform and special guests from Operation SEAs the Day — a weeklong beach event for wounded veterans and their families — will be in attendance.

The Freeman Stage at Bayside, located in the Bayside community at the intersections of routes 54 and 20 near Selbyville, will kickoff this season at 7 p.m., May 24 with a performance by The Acrobats of Cirque-tacular.

Regular weekly performances will continue with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra on June 17.

“The Freeman Stage is a vessel for presenting a myriad of arts and performances throughout the summer,” said Ms. Grimes.

The Freeman Stage is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, which partners to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all. This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Grant support is also provided by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, Sussex County Council and the state of Delaware.

Ms. Grimes acknowledged county council’s transportation grant that helps to fuel the Freeman Stage at Bayside’s outreach programs. Last year, 10,971 outreach guests, mostly children, experienced events and programs.

“We are very thankful for the transportation grant that you provide. More than 6,000 children are coming to the stage May 24 and May 26 for Cirque-tacular,” Ms. Grimes said. “Many people have the opportunity to see the arts but there many residents and children in our county that really don’t have that opportunity.”

Ms. Grimes shared with council plans for growth in the future.

“Our intention is really to provide a larger venue for patrons,” she said. “We have been in conversation with planning and zoning and have come before them for a 4,000-seat venue down the road. But as you know that takes money, that takes tremendous planning and it takes the support of the community.”

For more information on this season’s events or to find out how to volunteer at The Freeman Stage, call 436-3015 or visit www.freemanstage.org.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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