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Seaside Celebrates the Greats

Tribute Concerts at The REP Theatre

Photography by Brendan Babineaux

Although the doors of the Seaside Repertory Theatre in Seaside, Florida, are temporarily closed in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t mean The REP will ever stop celebrating the arts and artists. We’re looking back at the small community theater’s annual tribute concert series, which celebrates the greatest musicians and bands of all time in a fund-raising event that sells out within days of its announcement each year.

The 2019 concert was unique: instead of the usual artist or band tribute, the concert celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the famous Woodstock Music and Art Fair, which took place in Bethel, New York, in August of 1969. Woodstock: The Tribute Concert took place at The REP on Tuesday, November 19, and brought a night of peace and music to the New Urban beach community.

Locals gathered in a packed house at the black box–style theater, and the stage was just as packed with a group of incredibly talented Northwest Florida musicians. Each performer chose songs from the Woodstock concert lineup, and the night progressed into a true in-the-round-style extravaganza as musicians jumped in to help each other, enhancing the good vibes and the fantastic sounds during each set. REP director Brook Stetler and series coordinator Mark Schnell kicked off the evening with an introduction, laying out the history of The REP’s tribute concert series, which has become its biggest annual fund-raiser event.

Performers included Chris Alvarado, a musician and craftsman who also brought along a bit of music history—a piece of the original Woodstock stage, set in a plywood frame engraved with the names of the musicians who performed at the iconic festival. Alvarado is also the maker of the incredibly beautiful Driftwood Guitars; he plans to use the wood to create the neck of an instrument in the future.

Joining him on stage were Scott Rockwood, Shawn Hartung, Fritz Froeschner, Mike Whitty, Ken Johnson, Andi Zack-Johnson, Scott Crompton, the Steenos, Nic Turner, and more!

Performers included Chris Alvarado, a musician and craftsman who also brought along a bit of music history—a piece of the original Woodstock stage, set in a plywood frame engraved with the names of the musicians who performed at the iconic festival.

Guests jammed to the performers’ covers of such rock, folk, and blues classics as “White Rabbit,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Ring of Fire,” and many others. Each performer put his or her soul and style into the songs, bringing some different arrangements and tastes to the originals. It was indeed a one-of-a-kind concert, as all The REP’s tribute concerts are known to be.

“The Tribute Concert is always one of my favorite events of the year,” says The REP’s director, Brook Stetler. “I think it is one of the local musicians’ favorites, as well. It is always cool to see what personal touches they’ll put on such well-known songs. The REP is lucky to be so well supported by the musicians of Northwest Florida and by our audience members every year.”

Past tribute concerts in the series, which started in 2011, have celebrated Johnny Cash, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, legends of outlaw country music, Tom Petty, the Eagles, and John Prine.

The REP’s patrons and other members of the Seaside community, as well as the local musicians who pour their hearts and souls into the annual tribute concert to support the theater, can’t wait to see which artist, band, or genre will be coming up for 2020’s tribute. Stay tuned as we eagerly await the announcement this October!

— V —

Visit LoveTheREP.org to learn more, see their schedule of performances and events, and sign up as a member for discounted tickets and more.

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