TUPELO – Music fans braved lightning and a heavy downpour to see Tupelo native Paul Thorn rock out at the final Down on Main concert Thursday.
A steady rain began during opener Charlie Mars’ set and continued through the intermission, but the weather cleared when Thorn took the stage.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. introduced Thorn to an enthusiastic crowd covered in ponchos and umbrellas.
“I have friends on the Coast who tell me, you don’t know how to have a good time in Northeast Mississippi,” Reed said. “I tell them, come to Fairpark tonight.”
Shortly after Thorn took the stage, he played a hometown favorite, “Long Way from Tupelo,” and thanked the crowd coming out.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you sitting out in the rain,” Thorn said. “I can’t tell you what it means to me.”
This is the final Down on Main concert for 2009. The first two concerts, featuring headliners Kudzu Kings and Blue Mountain, respectively, were both successes, and organizer Chris Root said this show is no different.
“It was obviously not ideal,” he said, speaking of the rain, “but given the circumstances, it was ideal.” He said he was surprised at how many folks attended despite the weather.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said, noting the audience was bigger for the Paul Thorn show than for the Blue Mountain show. “This is a great crowd.”
Root and other organizers are already planning the 2010 series.
There were a few more tents set up for this show than for previous ones, possibly because of the weather.
Mike and Janet Armour of Tupelo stayed dry under their tent, which helped them make new friends, like Shelia Yarbrough of Belmont.
The Armours have attended each of the Down on Main shows.
“It’s just a relaxing experience. It’s a good break in the middle of the week,” Mike Armour said.
Thursday was Yarbrough’s first Down on Main show.
“My friends said (Thorn) was great, and this guy (Mars) is wonderful,” she said. “I will be back next year, definitely.”
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal