NEW PORT RICHEY — Freedom of expression entwined with some good reads, original music and an opportunity to get to know the people in your neighborhood are the thoughts behind a four-part monthly concert series sponsored by the New Port Richey Public Library.
"BANneD Books: Celebrate Your Right to Read" kicks off at 7:30 p.m. July 21 in Sims Park with the tunes of St. Petersburg's Trigger City Trio.
The concerts, which will be the third Thursday of each month through October, were purposely scheduled to wrap up soon after National Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 to Oct. 1), said library associate director Ann Scott, noting that the event will promote freedom of expression with original bands, information about censorship and banned books, and a book swap.
Freedom of expression, no matter how unorthodox, is vital to a strong democracy, and the concert series, featuring original music by area bands, hopefully will also provide a venue for healthy discussion, Scott said. "We want it to be fun and inspirational."
The series is funded by a portion of the library's state grant money earmarked for cultural events that engage and inspire people living in and around New Port Richey.
Traditionally, the library hosts a fall concert series that incorporates classical, jazz, blues, folk, jazz and some pop music. Those indoor offerings have been so popular, particularly with seasonal residents, that they typically are standing room only.
The BANneD Books concerts, coordinated by Rock the Boat Productions, are a testing of the waters, adding a different flavor to events already held at the park, including a summer jazz concert series and family movie nights.
"We're experimenting with doing it in the summer and targeting a younger demographic," Scott said. "I think it will be nice to have something for the people who live here year-round. And I think we might catch some nice sunsets."
To be sure, Sims Park, along the Pithlachascotee River in downtown New Port Richey, is a pleasant, roomier venue that offers concert-goers the opportunity to lay out a picnic supper on a blanket or visit one of the nearby local eateries or drinking establishments.
The music lineup highlights bands that are writing and performing original music, said Lia Gallegos of Rock the Boat Productions.
"We're hoping people will come out and enjoy a nice community event that is different than some of the usual events held at the park," Gallegos said. "This will be a laid-back, community event where you can get to know your neighbors, appreciate the original music and start the discussion about banned books."
Contact Michele Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MicheleMiller52