When Josephine and Keith Hardison were researching new homes three years ago, going to the Music by the Water Concerts at Norton Commons was the thing that sealed the deal. In their early 60s and looking to downsize, the Hardisons had visited numerous places including Norton Commons. They decided to check out a couple of the community’s monthly summertime concerts to get a feel for the neighborhood and see what the people were like, said Josephine Hardison. “When we saw how friendly they were, we instantly fell in love and knew it was the place for us to live.”

Norton Commons Marketing Director Marilyn Patterson said that is one happy byproduct of the concerts, which run monthly from May through September at the Amphitheatre near the lake. “The concerts get folks together in a space where socializing and making new friends is easy and comfortable.  Since Norton Commons is all about a community-focused lifestyle, the concerts are a perfect fit.”

A growing event

Four years ago, the Music by the Water Concerts at Norton Commons started more as a grassroots community effort, said Patterson, but has grown to the point where if the weather is good, a couple thousand people will show up, including visitors from all over the region. “It’s a good mix of resident and non-resident attendees at each concert; probably about half and half at this point,” she said.

The Hardisons, for one, said they try not to miss a single concert in the series. Josephine Hardison said the diversity of the music is a reflection of the diversity of the community. “They do a great job of mixing genres of music throughout the series from jazz to country to pop to Motown – there is a band to fit every person’s style,” said Hardison.

Marilyn Patterson said she believes the Music by the Water concerts fill a need for high-quality music in the area. “One aspect about our concerts I love is that they provide great cultural outlets close to home for those in the East End of Louisville,” said Marilyn Patterson. “Quality outdoor live music used to be something you could only find downtown or at Iroquois Amphitheater.  We’re glad to be the site for talent-filled musical performances on this side of town,” she said.

Soul Street

One of the talented groups made such an impression on attendees when they played last year that they are back by popular demand for the inaugural concert of the series on Saturday, May 26. Soul Street, a variety band from Indianapolis, was a huge hit last year, according to the Hardisons. “Social media was burning up” after their performance last year, said Keith Hardison, who said as an amateur musician himself, he appreciates the top-notch talent Norton Commons brings in for the concerts.

Soul Street manager Rusty Hamilton, said the band also can’t wait to return for Music by the Water Concerts.

“It’s such a beautiful setting for a fun night of music,” said Hamilton. “The vibe at our show is all about dancing and the great R&B and Motown Songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Everyone will know almost every song and will be singing along for sure. We are so excited and looking forward to hitting the stage with such an awesome group of people to throw a big, funky and crazy dance party.

For the Hardisons, the concert series is just one more reason to love Norton Commons. “We love the walkability and sense of community, said Keith Hardison. “Living here is like being on vacation every day.”

Mark your calendars!

Music by the Water Concerts schedule

May 26 – 6:30 p.m.

Classics in the Commons

Wulfe Brothers and Soul Street

June 30 – 6:30 p.m.

Nashville Sound – Kentucky Roots

Jeni Carr and J.D Shelburne

July 28 – 6:30 p.m.

Just Another Tequila Sunset

Jimmy G and the Sidewinders and Brutally Handsome

Aug. 28 -6:30 p.m.

Beachy Vibes and Good Vibrations

CMN Trio and Sail On

Sept. 15 – 6:30 p.m.

Sensational Sounds of 60s

Church Street Revival and The Monarchs