COLUMBIA — Just outside the Artist Village on Saturday under a small blue tent stood this year’s new music venue: the Premier Bank Shady Tree Stage at Art in the Park. The tent, a few metal folding chairs, four rows of haystack seating and a tree were all that comprised the meager stage, but guests and artists alike came to enjoy the music. Event organizers hoped that the addition of the stage would give those coming to hear music and see the visual art the opportunity to experience both at the same time.
If the constant crowd around the stage was any indication, then that goal was accomplished.
Margot McMillen of Callaway County, who was attending Art in the Park for the first time, said she liked the setup for the stage.
“It’s nice and shady,” McMillen said. “There sure are a good group of people and they must be really enjoying it.”
The tent housed acoustic acts of fiddle music due to the lack of electricity in that area of the park.
John White, 71, of the Nine Mile Band, brought the 105-year-old fiddle that his grandfather gave him to play during his performance at noon.
He learned how to play on the old fiddle as a boy.
“The difference between a violinist and a fiddler is the person playing it,” White said. “A violinist is trained professionally.”
His band has played at Art in the Park in past years and has also played at the Twilight Festival.
Miriam Krone’s booth in the Artist Village was close to the stage. Krone, of New Haven, said having music on the west side of the park was a nice touch.
“It draws people in, and they tend to hang out,” Krone said.
The stage was hosted by the Missouri Traditional Fiddle and Dance Network and will also be set up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.