You can go ahead and list this under one of many “only in Lawrence” moments.

In what had to have been THE best summer soirée this area has seen in a long time, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic played a free concert on the street in Downtown Lawrence. A sea of people ignored the scorching temperatures and gleefully packed into the stretch of New Hampshire in front of the Lawrence Arts Center. The concert was a gift from the Free State Festival to the people of Larryville, placed smack dab in the middle of countless art, music, and film events taking place all week.

Organizers wisely chose The Phantastics to open up the night. We honestly can’t think of a better band to have started this party off right. The band that does it all has become a staple of any lively event, thanks to their high-energy presence and ability to put the groove in you. If you don’t feel like dancing, The Phantastics will change your mind in no time. They’ll touch on every genre possible, no matter how long their sets run. The Phantastics are intoxicating and highly addictive, and you’ll never settle for seeing them once.
By the time the obnoxiously hot sun disappeared into the horizon (Bye Felicia), George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic stormed the stage in all their vibrant glory. It took no time for the crowd to start grooving, and every last one of the performers onstage was absolutely enchanting. The singers were bright and flashy, the guitarists impressive, and George was the belle of the ball. With one wave of his hand (or even just a couple of fingers!) the audience obliged to every demand, cheering and thrusting their palms in the air in celebration. The jazzy jubilee had folks lining up to get in (that block could only hold so many people), and fans eagerly leaned in from alleys and peered out from the parking garage for a glimpse of the merriment. A few lucky revelers got to cut a rug with the band; and as the steady breeze continued to cool everyone off, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride in knowing that the arts truly are alive and well in good old LFK.

Words and photos by Fally Afani



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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