Thursday Night Live brings the boogie to downtown


Thursday Night Live’s 2017 season began on April 6 and will continue each week through October 12

Becky Feigin

Central Bank’s Thursday Night Live event has been a staple of downtown nightlife between April and October every year since 1995. 

The event began when the Lexington Chamber of Commerce took roughly 100 members to South Carolina to observe a similar concert series.

The Chamber of Commerce was intrigued by what it saw and decided it would be a great way to give people in Lexington something to do after work. 

Since then the event has blossomed, playing host to some of the top local and regional entertainment and vendors. 

Laura Farnsworth, senior event coordinator for the Downtown Lexington Corporation, has been planning Thursday Night Live for the past eight years. Farnsworth has seen plenty of changes come to Thursday Night Live in the past seven years.

“It’s really transformed into what it is today, which is a huge social party with thousands of people, but at the root of the event it has always been about the music and bringing people downtown,” Farnsworth said. 

Every week a different band performs. To determine what artists will perform, a committee streams around 200 demos that are sent to Downtown Lexington Corporation. Bands that have a bigger following and that the crowd enjoys are asked back often.

“There’s a lot of loyalty with who we bring back,” Farnsworth said. 

Farnsworth said the Thursday Night Live crowds are loyal every year, and when the event starts each Thursday at 5 p.m., many people who just got off work downtown will stop by to relax and enjoy the music. Once 7:30 p.m. hits, the college crowd starts filing into downtown as well.

“Over the past three or four years the college students have really come out to see the music,” Farnsworth said. “They are starting to realize how cool of a place it is to be.”

Skybar, a rooftop bar downtown, is the walk around drink partner at Thursday Night Live. Downtown Lexington Corporation also scatters craft beer vendors throughout Cheapside Park during the event, which helps to pay for the logistics to run Thursday Night Live.  

A non-profit organization is featured every week of Thursday Night Live. The non-profit comes down and pours draft beers for attendees. At the night’s conclusion, the non-profit gets all the tips from the night for their organization.

“I think last year we gave back $24,000,” Farnsworth said. “It’s something we’re really proud of.” 

Thursday Night Live’s 2017 season began on April 6 and will continue each week through October 12. The event’s second chapter of the year will feature music from Swing Street and members from Dress for Success Lexington will be on site pouring beer. According to Dress for Success Lexington’s website, their mission is “to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive.”