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The Riverside

The Riverside, clockwise from the top: Chase Fierro, Lorien Jeanson, Addison Freeman, Jake Jeanson and Aleida Gehrels. The Santa Barbara folk band will perform Thursday night at the season's first SAGE Summer Concert in Bruce Starker Arts Park. 

Organizers bill the annual SAGE Summer Concert Series as a family-friendly way to have fun and do good.

The concert series is a fundraiser for the Corvallis Environmental Center, with all donations and alcohol sales going back to the center's food programming.

"The concerts are totally free," said event organizer Jennah Stillman. "We do request donations from those that are able to contribute."

The series' sixth year in Bruce Starker Arts Park opens Thursday night with performances by Santa Barbara folk band The Riverside and Portland's salsa and Latin jazz group Pa'Lante.

Stillman said the one-acre Starker Arts Garden for Education (SAGE), adjacent to the amphitheater, grows more than 7,000 pounds of food every year, which gets donated to local hunger relief organizations. The garden is also used for farm-to-school field trips and summer camps.

This year, organizers have added activities to annual series, Stillman said, including a large community mural that guests can contribute to throughout the series, courtesy of The Arts Center.

Each concert will feature an area with different activities for children.

At the first concert, The Toy Factory is providing stomp rockets for kids to play with. The Little Gym will set up an obstacle course, and The Arts Center will offer rock painting.

Also, the lineup at this year's four concerts will present more regional acts than in years past.

"We obviously want to highlight local musicians here, but we also want to bring some new energy and sounds into Corvallis," Stillman said.

That starts Thursday with the headliner Pa'Lante and The Riverside, who Stillman calls "a really fun, energetic group with wonderful harmonies and great instruments."

The second concert Thursday, July 26, is a locals night show, Stillman said.

"We've got Organized Chaos, which is a group of local high school students that totally rock and Ludicrous Speed, a local ska group that we've had play before," she said.

The third show (Aug. 9) will feature Portland-based folk and punk artist Olivia Awbrey and Seattle's The Mondegreens, who Stillman likened to The Avett Brothers.

"The last show is kind of our big headliner. We've got our opener, his name is Adam Larson, and the group called Hillstomp," she said.

Adam Larson and Co., who will also perform at the Oregon Jamboree in Sweet Home Aug. 4, are a country-Americana band from Corvallis. Hillstomp of Portland is a self-described "junkbox blues duo that is infamous for digging through the dumps and forgotten backwoods of American music, recycling traditional elements into a refreshing and distinctive brand of do-it-yourself hill country blues stomp."

First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op will have dinner, desserts, beverages and snacks available for purchase at the first concert, and will be donating 75 percent of the proceeds to the Corvallis Environmental Center, Stillman said.

Food vendors Pupuseria del Valle and ZIA Southwest Cuisine will be at the remaining concerts. Beer, wine, cider and mead will be for sale.

People are also welcome to bring their own picnics and food, Stillman said.

"Having these concerts is not just a fun way to celebrate summertime and the community, but also to sustain the programming that we do there," she said.

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