CASPER, Wyo —Band bookings and clearances from public health officials came together less than a week before the Summer Concert Series finally kicked off at David Street Station Friday night, August 7, in downtown Casper.
“We honestly didn’t know what to expect,” said Kevin Hawley, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, which manages the private venue. Hilltop Bank sponsored the event with special appreciation to Hat Six Travel Center.
Nashville group Savannah Jack was the headlining band. Local entrepreneur Doris McMurry, founder McMurry Entertainment Group, frequently visits Nashville, and her personal friendship with the band facilitated the booking.
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“I love Casper, I’ve been here many times,” Don Gatlin, the group’s frontman, told Oil City News after the show. He said it was the band’s first live performance since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The band’s setlist covered everything from Motown to Rick Springfield. Crowd favorites included Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places,” Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” and “Jesse’s Girl.”
“We wanted to do something for everyone,” Gatlin said.
“Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait was Janet Hoversland’s favorite, adding that her and her husband Sott danced to it at their wedding 27 years ago.
“I hope it continues,” Hoverland said of the concerts. “It was fabulous.”
Frequent David Street Station performer Bret Andrew opened the concert.
Concerns over the coronavirus were outweighed by the desire to get out, and barriers at the venue were set up to break up the crowds.
Linda Becker, a high school classmate of Doris McMurry, told Oil City News the concert was the biggest public event she’s been to since the closures in March. When asked about concerns related to social distancing and the coronavirus, she said, “I should have worn my shirt, then you’d know I feel. It says ‘Fear is the virus; COVID-1984.’ And if you haven’t read George Orwell’s “1984,” you really should.”
“I think this is the perfect turnout for the size of our facility,” Hawley said. “If [people] are clustered together, they’re with immediate friends and family.”
“I feel like we’re fulfilling our mission,” Hawley added. “This is why we built it. Finally, after months and months and months, things are looking up. I’ve got a smile on my face.”
Friday, August 21 will be the final Hilltop-sponsored concert, will plans in the works to host another Saturday, August 22.