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Twilight Tunes a fun tradition

It’s been one of our favorite Denton attractions for two decades, and we’re not alone — Twilight Tunes is a hot ticket, and that has nothing to do with the fact that this concert series is held outdoors on summer evenings.

In fact, the Texas heat has done little to dim the appeal of the weekly concerts for all ages that began as both a celebration of Denton music and an attraction to bring people to the city’s revived downtown Square.

Early shows drew about 150 people, but as many as 500 music lovers are now gathering on the Square every Thursday night to catch the free show.

The price is certainly right, but that’s not the only thing we love about this concert series. The Twilight Tunes formula is simple and it works.

Bands from Denton and the Dallas-Fort Worth area perform on the courthouse lawn at sunset, and area residents with family and friends in tow bring blankets or chairs and sit back and enjoy an evening of good, live music. If you’re hungry, you can pick up some food at a downtown restaurant and bring it along.

“There is a certain genre of music that works for Twilight Tunes,” Denton Main Street representative Christine Gossett told us. “It tends to be a little of country music, a little folk and some pop. It has to meet broad tastes. We like to expose an audience to something they haven’t really heard, and we do like the focus to be on the area.”

In recent years, the series has added Latin music to the mix.

The variety is perfect for a family outing, and thanks to a lot of generous and loyal sponsors, other parts of the event are welcoming, too.

The University of North Texas athletic department started bringing its bounce house out to some of the concerts about three years ago, and that’s been a big hit with youngsters. People can check the Main Street website to see when the bounce house will be out at the show.

“We’ve also been featuring our presenting sponsors more. If the sponsor for that night is a restaurant, they might bring a booth out to the concert,” Gossett said.

Sponsors supply the means to pay the musicians and to provide the sound system for the performances.

The Twilight Tunes series is not only popular with audiences but is also considered a great gig by bands and musicians, Gossett said — there are more bands interested in playing than there are open dates.

This year’s Twilight Tunes series got started a couple of weeks ago and continues every Thursday through July 4. The concerts run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. In May, the concerts are on the Elm Street side of the Courthouse on the Square lawn, and in June, the shows move to the Locust Street side.

Why not take the family out for some music Thursday night? This week’s show features Texas singers and songwriters Jeff Glover, Joe Pat Hennen and Brian Houser.

Gossett told us that Twilight Tunes has become a tradition for some locals, and we can certainly understand that.

“I know people who go every week and bring eight people with them,” she said. “And that’s what we want. We want this to be a good time for everyone.”

In our view, that’s the best thing about Twilight Tunes — it’s a lot of fun, and once you go, we’re betting that it won’t be your last time to attend.