Downtown music series wraps up

    New location helps event grow

    GILROY ‘LIVE’ Gary Walton of the Gilroy Downtown Business Association stands in Monterey Street before start of last ‘Gilroy Live’ event. Photo: Barry Holtzclaw

    The Downtown Live summer concert series wrapped up on Aug. 22, after nine weeks of new bands in a different location with an unexpected vigil in between.

    The series, organized by the Gilroy Downtown Business Association, ran every Thursday since June 20, with the exception of Aug. 1, filling up a block of Monterey Street between Sixth and Fifth streets. Hundreds attended the weekly free event that also featured food trucks, vendors and children’s activities.

    “The 2019 Downtown Live was a great success,” said Gary Walton, president of the Downtown Business Association. “Thanks to the GDBA’s board member Mattie Scariot, we brought new bands and new genres to the event in addition to our always popular local bands.”

    This year, the event moved to Monterey Street from its previous location on Fifth Street.

    “We have had more merchant involvement in the event because Monterey has so many more businesses compared to Fifth Street, and their participation has been great as well,” Walton said. “This year we had more than a few people come down from Morgan Hill and the surrounding cities to see some of the well-known bands who played, showing that downtown Gilroy can draw from the region.”

    Walton added that the business association will be surveying merchants and restaurants about their experience during the series, and asking for suggestions on how to improve next year.

    The day after the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, the association’s board of directors decided to host a vigil on Aug. 1 rather than continue the concert series that day. Walton said the vigil was initially intended as a small gathering, but once word spread, the board knew it was going to be much larger.

    “The vigil was by far the largest event during the Downtown Live series, and it was put together in four days,” he said, adding that Gilroy Fire Chief Jeff Clet helped out the shorthanded police department by bringing in personnel from other jurisdictions to the event. “I’m still amazed that it all came together so well and the sense of community that resulted.”