SPRING HILL — In January, the Spring Hill Community Association launched its monthly concert series in the hope of providing a viable outlet for entertainment-starved western Hernando County.
After two shows, results have been mixed.
Only a few dozen folks showed up to see Stones Throw, a Rolling Stones tribute band, mainly because of inclement weather. But more than 400 fans turned out in February for a performance by the oldies group the Drifters.
All of which leaves association president Ed Lawrence feeling optimistic about the future of the series.
"We're trying something new, so we knew it was going to take some time for it to all come together," Lawrence said. "Overall, the response has been very positive. It tells us we're on the right track."
Lawrence is hoping for the largest turnout yet when the association hosts the '50s doo-wop group the Coasters at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The group, which is known for rock 'n' roll gems Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown and Poison Ivy, remains a strong draw five decades after its heyday. And Lawrence feels certain that longtime fans will want to come out to see them.
"They're a classic 1950s group, and we have a lot of people in our community who grew up listening to them," Lawrence said.
The concert series, which is staged on the 20- by 30-foot Palmwood Pavilion, behind the community association's Lake House, began with the premise that residents would gladly support any effort to bring quality entertainment to the west side.
Although national touring acts have proven to be fairly successful draws, Lawrence said they are a bit too costly to do on a regular basis.
Unlike the Bandshell Bash, Brooksville's free monthly concert series, the Spring Hill Community Association charges an admission fee to help cover artist performance fees.
Despite the crowd that turned out to see the Drifters, proceeds from ticket sales didn't cover the band's performance fee of more than $7,500, Lawrence said.
One of the more successful ventures has been the offering of optional VIP tickets to fans. For an extra $5, patrons get a reserved seat and an opportunity to meet with performers after the concerts.
Although national acts will continue to be brought in from time to time, future concerts will focus on local and regional acts.
"The big names helped us to get attention in the community, but we really believe we can draw good crowds using just Florida talent," Lawrence said.
The April 26 concert is set to feature yet-to-be-named regional country acts. In May, the series will feature an all-jazz program. During the summer, plans are under way to feature a series of teen rock groups, Lawrence said.
"Our plan is to mix it up, bring in music that will appeal to a wide audience," he said.
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or