The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation doesn’t discriminate against music genres.

Executive director Marcia Hull said the Foundation’s 23rd annual Concerts in the Village will feature something for everyone’s musical taste. Concerts in the Village is an outdoor concert series hosted in the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, in which guests can bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy live music and food vendors.

“They base the lineup on feedback from our fans and our partners that help fund the event to ensure that it features a diverse genre of music,” Hull said. “We’re always introducing new music to our venue. Since our fans love to dance, we have ones that return each year, but we make sure it’s not a repeat of the season before.”

This year’s lineup will feature familiar tunes people know from tribute bands. Unlike previous years, the performers will cover the past six decades.

“You’re going to have tribute music of The Beatles, Elton John, Billy Joel,” Hull said. “We’re going to have some ‘70s disco music, Prince music, Gloria Estefan, Motown, New Orleans funk and modern jazz. Then we also have a bit of reggae in there and today’s pop music.”

Hull personally looks forward to Captain Fantastic 52nd Street & Boogie Fever because it reminds her of when her own music taste developed. She also thinks the audience will enjoy artists new to the event series such as the Forrest Williams band, which will bring singer-songwriter soul, and Gloria’s Miami Sound with Nikki Torres, a tribute to Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine.

Event proceeds will benefit the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s community outreach initiative, Hull said. The initiative is an inclusive arts education program that provides creative outlets for people of diverse abilities and backgrounds, including K-12 students, children and adults with special needs and at-risk youth. The Foundation also launched an arts initiative to help veterans and active-duty warriors.

“That’s beneficial because we funded probably over $70,000 last year in bringing those enrichment programs to those who lack access to the arts or can benefit from it, like those suffering from PTSD or traumatic brain injury,” Hull said.

Get to know some of the performing acts in this year's Thursday night concert series, which began last night and continues through June 28. There's a break in July and August. The series restarts Sept. 13 and continues through Oct. 11.


The Petty Hearts — the National Tom Petty Tribute Show

Homebase: Fort Lauderdale

Members: TJ Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Anthony Pangalinin (lead guitar, backing vocals), Chris Wright (bass guitar, backing vocals), Dave Glaid (keyboards, percussion) and Doug Aronson (drums, backing vocals)

Genre: tribute, classic rock



Twitter: @pettyheartsband

How did you decide to start a tribute show?

A lot of TJ’s friends thought he sounded like Tom Petty. Then, he donned the hair, the hat and the idea was born. The band is now in its sixth year and has gone from a little local band to a nationally touring act.

What is something about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that people might not know?

Tom Petty’s last tour in 2017, up to his untimely death, won Rock Tour of the Year honors, according to Pollstar magazine. The tour grossed $64.7 million.

What’s it like being in a tribute band?

It’s great being in a tribute band. We love playing the music as much as the fans enjoy hearing it. Now that Tom Petty is no longer with us, the connection with our audience is even more pronounced. Everyone is happy that we’re keeping Tom’s music and memory alive. Many of us have played original music over the course of our careers. TJ, who plays the role of Tom Petty, has written many original country and pop/rock songs.

Describe your band’s vibe in five words or less?

Have love, will travel. (That’s a Tom Petty song by the way)

What are your pre-performance rituals?

No formal ritual. We just want to get on the stage and rock!

What’s the most memorable feedback you’ve received from an audience member?

It’s actually happened several times. People just come up to us after and thank us for playing and performing Tom’s music accurately, professionally and in an entertaining way. People are really moved by Tom Petty’s music and lyrics, and they often tell us what his music meant to their lives. For some, it’s spiritual and moving, and we are happy to hear those stories.

What’s your favorite song to perform?

Too hard to pick just one. “American Girl” is always a huge crowd-pleaser, and it’s awesome to see everyone dancing and singing along.

What music are you listening to right now?

At the end of May, we are playing a major Beatles fan convention in Jeffersonville, Indiana. So we’re learning two Beatles songs that Tom Petty performed at the Concert for George Harrison. We’ll be performing those.

What music is your guilty pleasure?

All of us have our own versions of that. For Chris, it’s David Bowie. For Dave, it’s anything ‘60s. For Anthony, it’s Van Halen. For Doug, it’s The Jayhawks, an alt-country band that once opened for Petty, and for TJ, it’s Stone Temple Pilots and Michael Jackson. You might actually hear some MJ at the show!

What’s in the works for the band’s future?

Keep touring and expanding geographically, even beyond the U.S. border, wherever there are Tom Petty fans!


Emerald Gold

Homebase: Niceville

Members: Roger Agerton (bass guitar/singer), Mark Arrington (lead/rhythm guitar/singer), Thomas “Bart” Bartleson (drums/singer), Spud Cottingham (keyboards/singer), and Rodney Wilson (lead singer)

Genre: R&B and motown soul are a mainstay, but we also play rock 'n' roll and country music.



How did the band form?

After winning the first “Northwest Florida Idol Competition” in 2006, I decided to start my own band. After several different band members, I was lucky enough to end up with the talented four I work with today.

How did you pick the band’s name?

We wanted to use our location in the name and present an air of something worth being coveted. So being on the beautiful Emerald Coast, and gold being a sought after precious metal, we decided on Emerald Gold.

Describe your band’s vibe in five words or less?

Eclectic mix of musical talent!

What are your pre-performance rituals?

I pray and vocalize. Oh, and I say these three words to myself, “Go to work.”

What’s the most memorable feedback you’ve received from an audience member?

Just after last year’s Mattie Kelly performance a man came up to me and said, “I have been coming to these concerts since they started and you have the best voice and vocals I have ever heard.” I have heard and I know the caliber of talent this venue attracts year after year, so I was and still am honored by the comment.

What’s your favorite song to perform? Why?

“Turn the Page” by Bob Seger, because I feels it tells the story of a musician’s life, “Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage. Here I go, playing star again, There I go, Turn the Page”.

What music are you listening to right now?

“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.

What music is your guilty pleasure?

Soulful Ballads. The “Old School” singers like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cook and Smokey Robinson are some of my musical heroes.

What’s in the works for the band’s future?

This band’s plan is to continue to provide heartfelt music for as long as we have folks willing to listen. Singing is an integral part of my life and I can’t see a future without it. I will sing until I can’t sing anymore … and then, I guess I’ll hum.