VAN HUNT headlines PLAYlist, Durham Central Park’s free, annual concert series Friday, July 12. A Dayton, Ohio-born musician, Hunt made his way to Atlanta where he drew acclaim for his production efforts and crafty songwriting, featured on recordings by such diverse artists as Dionne Farris and Rahsaan Patterson, as well as the platinum-selling soundtrack, Love Jones. 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of his own self-titled debut album. It instantly established Hunt as a distinctive and original talent with its idiosyncratic melding of R&B, soul, funk, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll. Hunt received a 2005 “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” Grammy nomination for his breakthrough hit single, Dust featured on that album.

About Van Hunt

In 2007, Hunt received a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals,” honoring Family Affair, a collaboration with John Legend and Joss Stone found on the 2006 Sly & The Family Stone tribute album, Different Strokes For Different Folks. Hunt’s third album, Popular, slated for 2008, was pulled from the label’s release schedule at the dawn of a tumultuous decade for the music industry. Nevertheless, the album became an underground sensation, a classic lost album hailed by LA Weekly as “a left-field stunner” for its “trippy fusion of funk grooves, punk guitar and soul vocals.” Van Hunt fans rejoiced when Popular was finally officially released by Blue Note Records in August 2017.

About PLAYlist Concert Series

This third year of PLAYlist Concert Series features a few changes, inspired by audience feedback. We are extending the series into the fall, by presenting concerts every other Friday evening from June 14 to September 20. We have also shifted the time: local food trucks and craft beer vendors will start serving at 6 p.m. but music starts at 7 p.m. Finally, we are including more opening acts with the concerts.

One thing that has not changed is the fact that each of these concerts is welcoming to the whole community and, most importantly, absolutely free to attend! The series is curated by Tess Mangum Ocaña, who works for Durham Central Park and leads Durham-based production company Sonic Pie Productions.

The Full Line Up

The full line up ranges from progressive R&B to Latin, soul, Americana, hip hop and world music:

Alanna Royale-Friday, June 14

Ricardo Diquez y la Orquesta Trópico-Friday, June 28

An Evening With Van Hunt-Friday, July 12

Bull City All-Stars Drumline w/ Caroline Brodie-Friday, July 26

New Reveille w/ Raleigh Rockers-Friday, August 9

&More (Chill Moody & Donn T) w/ Niito-Friday, August 23

Project 919 Band w/ Empower Dance lesson-Friday, September 6

Les Filles de Illighadad w/ Diali Cissokho-Friday, September 20

Wait, there’s more!

The concert series also continues a tradition of community partnerships and free educational/experiential before or during some of the performances, such as an audience Q&A with Les Filles de Illighadad (from Niger) facilitated by Chatham County-based kora player Diali Cissokho. Cissokho will act as their French to English translator. “We are so excited to present this free concert series to the Durham community. Providing welcoming, inclusive and free programming is central to Durham Central Park’s mission” says Durham Central Park Executive Director Erin Kauffman.

Parking and More Info

Parking is free in the lot beside Durham Central Park, and there are metered spaces along Foster Street which change to free parking meters after 7 p.m.

Admission to PLAYlist Concert Series is free, due to support from sponsors North Carolina Arts Council, Durham Arts Council, Durham 150, WeWork, Friends of World Music, Urban Durham Realty, Resolute Building Company, Cambria Durham, PickleFest, 90.7 WNCU, Duke Performances, Acme, Morningstar Law, Pinnacle Financial Advisors and Downtown Durham Inc., Kompleks Creative.

Picnics, blankets, and folding chairs are welcome. Local food trucks and craft beer vendors will be on site. There are restrooms at Durham Central Park and the venue is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit https://durhamplaylist.com/

Cover Photo credit: Ryan Moeller Photography


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