New music ideas blossom in Wilton

Wilton is a town rich with musical entertainment, and it is about to get wealthier in that regard.

Phil Lauria, a member of the Economic Development Commission, has introduced a concept for a jazz and barbecue festival. It is in the early talking stages. At the same time, town resident Joan Wallace will meet with the EDC to discuss her concept for a fall music festival to showcase local talent.

“Would the EDC like to help with the proposed music festival targeted for next fall, to be organized by Wilton resident Joan Wallace? The commission asked for more specifics regarding our level of involvement: capacity and scope,” the EDC’s chairman, Vivian Lee-Shiue, said, according to the minutes of the recent Oct. 11 meeting.

EDC member Dan Berg is scheduled to meet with Wallace about the concept.

Wallace told The Bulletin she’s had the idea for a fall music festival for three years. It got off the ground recently when she mentioned it to First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice and Vanderslice referred the idea to the EDC.

“Yeah, I’ve thought about it the last three years, to start a music festival here in town. I know musicians from Acoustic Wilton, and church, and Wilton Rocks for Food, and I know we have enough talent in the town to start our own music festival, on two stages, at the library or the Town Green and Merwin Meadows,” Wallace said. “You can have four separate one-hour concerts in one afternoon or evening.”

She said she would want the EDC to be part of it because Wilton is looking to identify itself among neighboring towns. “One of our large things is we have this music community, with people who are extremely talented. Maybe some food vendors could come out, too,” she said.

Wallace is a 17-year town resident who works on Wall Street doing data projects. She has been involved in music 10 years, running the Wilton Go Green music stage and playing acoustic guitar and singing in her own acoustic show at bars in the area.

She knows the fall music festival would come right after the town’s latest music venture, the summer music series at Merwin Meadows, which this summer drew 150 to 200 people per show. There were four Sunday evening concerts in the series that ran in July and August.

Her idea is to have the fall music festival on a weekend day after school gets back in session and before school sports events start.

“I’d like to get people downtown to mingle and hang out for the evening,” she said.

The idea has not fallen on deaf ears. Within five minutes of word getting out about her prospective plan, she had two people step forward to sponsor the stage and sound system, she said.