Friday, April 12, 2013

Airport offers music for Masters travelers: Augusta Regional (KAGS), Georgia


Tom Gallagher stepped out of Augusta Regional Airport’s Gate 5 Wednesday, his rolling suitcase behind him, and stopped and stared. 

There among the bustle of travelers were four members of the Thomson High School Jazz Band, belting out tunes on a baritone saxophone, trombones and percussion.

“I thought it was like being on the Titanic,” said Gallagher, who flew from Chicago to attend the Masters Tournament. “It was nice to see.”

For the first time, Augusta Regional has brought in musicians to perform for travelers during Masters Week, the airport’s busiest seven days of the year. A local musical act will perform in the Spring Music Fest each day through Monday.

“We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get local artists the most exposure we could,” said Augusta Regional communications manager Lauren Smith. “This week is very busy. The terminal is full. Almost shoulder to shoulder with people.”

During Masters Week, Smith said, about 20,000 passengers filter though the airport – the same number seen during a typical month.

Augusta Regional began planning the Spring Music Fest earlier this year as an expansion to the mini concert series held around Christmastime.

Thomson High School band director Jessie Morlan said the gig is an opportunity to give exposure to his four young musicians, who were chosen to play at the airport from the school’s 25-member jazz band based on their skill and academics.

His band agreed.

“We’re just in high school, so we’ve really just done band concerts and football games,” said Thomson junior Mitchell Powers, who plays trombone. “This is really exciting.”

The airport’s marketing budget will also pay out $100 an hour for the three-hour slots, which Powers said is another bonus.

When he arrived at the airport Wednesday, Michael Via of Sarasota, Fla., had about a three-hour wait for his 1:40 p.m. flight back home. It was his first trip to Augusta for the Masters Tournament, and he spent Tuesday watching golfers at the practice rounds and taking in the azaleas.

His ears perked when he heard the band start playing.

“It’s pretty neat,” he said. “I had a long wait, but hopefully now it will go quicker.”


Tuesday: Eryn Eubanks and The Family Fold

Wednesday: Thomson High School Jazz Combo

Thursday: Sunwell

Today: Robin Dixon

Saturday: Cloud Formations

Sunday: Ramblin’ Fevers

Monday: Mike Frost Jazz


Pilots Work to Save Big Country AirFest after Dyess Backs Out: Abilene Regional Airport, Texas (With Video)

You can see them flying high, every May, during Abilene's annual Big Country Airfest, except this year, as Gary Potter admits:

"The air shows not going to be the same."

The sky will be a bit emptier after budget cuts forced the Air Force to cancel their public airshow.

However, that doesn't mean the Airfest has been entirely cancelled.

"It'll be a smaller, more intimate get together," said the President of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Abilene Chapter 471.

At least that's if Potter and other members have anything to do with it.

"We're going to try to do something for the local aviation community," said Potter.

While Air Force participation did have a big influence on the shows turnout, which brought in hundreds of participants, for Potter, the show must go on.

Except without much public participation, since only pilots will be allowed in.

"The experimental aircraft association does not want to hold themselves liable for any injuries that could occur to the general public," he said.

Spectators may have to just stand outside of the airport to catch a glimpse.

"They could come out and park alongside the roads and see airplanes flying," said Potter.

Members searching for other pilots to participate in their own event which will include an airplane rally and fly in.

So far people from all over are signing up.

"I believe we're expecting people to come from Oklahoma and New Mexico," said Potter.

They just aren't sure of how many  will show up.

"We have no idea, whether it will be 10 airplanes that fly in or 1000 airplanes fly in," he said.

One thing is for sure, come May 3rd you'll be able to spot Potter's plane up in the sky and he'll be there with a few others to participate in the annual breakfast his chapter sponsors.

"We don't know if were going to run out of eggs and bacon or not, we're just going to hope," he said.

Because there's no grounding their plans to keep the Airfest going.

The fly in is scheduled for May 3rd at the Abilene Regional Airport.

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