After taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Muncie Three Trails Music Series is back for summer 2021. This music series brings professional recording artists to the Canan Commons Park in Muncie. After kicking off July 10 with the Lost Bayou Ramblers, there are still three ensembles scheduled for this summer.
The next artist will be the Sensational Barnes Brothers on July 24. After releasing their debut album in 2020, the band gained traction through the Midwest and is bringing their unique sound that — according to Muncie Arts and Culture Council (MACC) — is a combination of traditional Black gospel and the sound of soul like Al Green and Stax. Following them will be Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, who the MACC said is one of the most decorated fiddle players of all time, performing August 7. Grammy Award winner Asleep At The Wheel will be on stage Sept. 11, sponsored by Ball State University.
“After a year of [COVID-19] and being in quarantine, I’m super excited to be able to get back out and see live music again,” said Victoria Benedetto, Ball State senior, after the concert July 10. “There are a lot of bands, as well as smaller artists, that I’ve been wanting to see live. Livestreaming [concerts] has been great and helpful, but nothing compares to being able to attend live shows.”
The goal of this series is to bring recognized, attributed and critically acclaimed artists to the heart of Muncie for the community to hear original music. Richard Zeigler, founder and organizer of the Muncie Three Trails Music Series, said he wants the free concerts to offer an opportunity for everyone in Muncie regardless of class or status to enjoy professional ensembles.
“I wanted the series to be free. I thought Canan Commons in the heart of downtown Muncie was a perfect place where people of all types, incomes, etc. could gather — helping to solidify a feeling of community among our residents,” Zeigler said via email. “That meant money had to be raised. Being involved in various non-profit entities in our city, I felt I had the connections to go to the local philanthropic foundations, as well as businesses and Ball State towards that end, and have been very gratified as to the support they have provided for the series throughout its eight years that has allowed it to be free to all comers.”
The series is a non-profit partnership between the MACC, Muncie Downtown Development Partnership and Zeigler. Ball State also sponsors some concerts.
“The most exciting aspect of this project is presenting great new music for people to experience. When I owned my music store, my favorite thing about it was turning people on to music they otherwise might never hear,” Zeigler said. “I see the Three Trails series as allowing me to continue to do the same. There is no other series like this in the state — and probably few anywhere in the country — that presents critically acclaimed national recording artists in a free community setting.”