Sharon Murry had to do a lot of improvising last year.
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, Murry, the co-owner of The Spinning Jenny, a 650-capacity venue in Greer, found herself with an empty event calendar.
But instead of closing down, Murry started thinking outside the box. She brought in teachers to give art lessons for children in a safe, socially distanced setting. The Jenny hosted virtual performances and demonstrations from various artists working in different disciplines. They even had salsa dancing and belly dancing lessons, socially distanced, of course.
And, last fall, The Spinning Jenny opened up their large parking lot for a Tuesday night outdoor event series called “Tuesdays at The Jenny,” with live music, food trucks and vendors.
Murry says in a way, she’s grateful for having to move away from traditional concerts.
“These are things that the pandemic kind of forced us to branch out and look into,” Murry says, “and I think it’s great. I’m loving it. We’ve had a pro wrestling event outside in the parking lot and it was just so great. And of course, that wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic. I like to look for the positives and there have definitely been some positives.”
In fact, the “Tuesdays at The Jenny” series, which ran from late September to early November, was such a positive experience that the venue has brought it back through April and May.
“We’ve had a lot of people talk about how much they loved it,” she says, “and how they’re excited that it’s back and they can come out and enjoy music and eat food and relax. I learned that people were really craving hearing music and experiencing the camaraderie of sharing it with others. And it’s free. They come set up their chairs and sit back and enjoy it.”
Musicians Alex Hunnicutt, The Time Pilots, Rough & Tumble, Taylor Corum and Jerry’s Nub will perform and different food trucks will be on-site every week, including Seoul Republik, Mexibilly’s, Sonny’s Grill, The Noodle Lady, and Mad Cuban.
There will also be local arts and crafts vendors at each event.
“I think people like it because it’s outside, the weather has been nice, and they can spread out how they like,” Murry says. “I think a lot of our patrons who weren’t comfortable coming out before come out now because they can sit where they want and just enjoy the music and see other people. They’re just happy to be out and amongst others.”
With the exception of one act, none of the musicians on the current schedule played last year, something Murry says she’s thrilled about.
“A lot of them came to us,” she says, “and these are musicians who are using it as an opportunity to introduce themselves to the community. So I think that’s exciting; it’s sort of like their way of saying, ‘This is who we are, we’d love to meet you,’ and I love that idea that they’re using this as a way to make connections, just meeting people and letting them know that they’re out there.”
The Tuesdays at The Jenny series runs until May 25. Visit thespinningjennygreer.com for info on performers and vendors.