It was a bit of serendipity that led Pete Spynda — best known these days as the DJ behind the Pandemic world-music dance night at Brillobox — to start a weekly outdoor concert series at a plant nursery.
"I'd been looking for a venue to do something outdoors for a while," Spynda explains. "I happened to be walking in Bloomfield, and I ran into a buddy of mine [Bill Brittain] who runs the Shadyside Nursery." Spynda was specifically looking for a place to put on a show for Italian Gypsy-folk band Taluna. Brittain was looking for activities to complement a Sunday visit by Fukuda restaurant's food truck. The result: Weather Permitting, a new Sunday-night series featuring local (and sometimes touring) bands, outdoors at the nursery.
The idea is to feature music in a family-friendly atmosphere, early in the evening, before folks head to the bar — or send the kids to bed. "It's kind of like a Hartwood Acres-style series, but in the city," Spynda says. "They do great programming at Hartwood Acres, but it can be a hike, especially if you live in the city, and have to pack up the kids and all that."
It'll of course be on a smaller scale than Hartwood: Spynda and the folks from Shadyside Nursery are building a stage to fill some space where the plants don't sit in the afternoon because of sun exposure. They'll rent a PA and have food trucks and drinks. (It's also BYOB.)
Spynda's hope is to involve nearby businesses and bring foot traffic to the nursery's end of Shadyside on Sunday evenings. (Shadyside Nursery is on Maryland Avenue, just off Ellsworth.) Local bands booked for the future include The Beagle Brothers, The Harlan Twins and The Pressure.
And ... if it rains?
"That's, I guess, to be determined," Spynda says with a laugh. "That's one reason I'm reluctant to book many touring bands. Mostly we'll just cross our fingers."