Bringing soul to the bandshell: Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed brings his dynamic sound to Basalt

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed
Courtesy photo

Eli “Paperboy” Reed has played juke joints in Mississippi, served as minister of music at a church in Chicago and taught gospel to at-risk youth in Harlem. 

On Aug. 24, he will bring his soulful, dynamic sound to Lions Park in Basalt for the third and final act in the free summer concert series hosted by The Arts Center at Willits, in partnership with the town of Basalt.

“We wanted someone that was energetic and upbeat, would be a lot of fun outside and really get people on their feet,” TACAW executive director Ryan Honey said.

The concert is intended to generate community excitement surrounding the town of Basalt’s new bandshell planned in Basalt River Park.

“It’s an opportunity for us, while we have people’s captive attention, that we can talk about it and get people thinking about it and excited for next summer,” Ryan Mahoney, Basalt town manager, said.

The new bandshell, which is part of the second phase of construction for Basalt River Park, will be open for events such as the free summer concert series next summer, according to Mahoney. The second phase of the park’s construction will also include the construction of a water-misting feature and a climbing feature on the bandshell itself, Mahoney said.

“The whole intent was to create an activity center and vibrancy in that town park,” Mahoney said. “When we went through the public process for the River Park, we saw that park being the main feature of the downtown, really tying the river into the town center. We thought that having this bandshell would help our ability to provide for activities, shows, things like that to get people down there.”

In the future, with Basalt’s plans to redo other areas, such as town hall and Lions Park, Mahoney said there may not be a need for the new bandshell. But in the short-term, “it’s going to really help to be a catalyst for getting what we intended out of the park, which is a lot of use from it,” he said.

The town of Basalt worked with TACAW to determine how the new park and bandshell design could support music events.

A previous summer concert at Lions Park.
Courtesy of The Arts Campus at Willits

“The town, to their credit, has recognized for some time that live performance is a great way to connect the community, drive economic activity, create community cohesion,” Honey said.

Mahoney is well aware of the beneficial impact the free concert series can have on the community.

“Our goal is to hopefully get acts that bring out more people because ultimately, the series is meant to not only provide a cultural event for folks, but then hopefully, before and after that cultural event, get people (who are) already out of the house to go patronize our businesses, be able to see people maybe they haven’t seen in a while,” Mahoney said. “It’s really all about creating communities.”

Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed
Courtesy of The Arts Campus at Willits
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed
Courtesy of The Arts Campus at Willits
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed
Courtesy of The Arts Campus at Willits
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