The Rolling Stones have been around for 50 years, while Wilmington’s restored World Cafe Live at the Queen concert venue has been in operation for just one year. Both were cause for a musical celebration over the weekend.
About 45 local musicians took the stage at various times throughout the evening to jam to Stones tunes and raise money for the Light Up the Queen Foundation, which maintains the restored Queen Theater on Market Street and offers musical programs for young people in the city.
Rob Grant of the Cameltones said the event was a “grass roots” effort, similar to a traditional summer festival centered around Grateful Dead music. “We started reaching out to the community of musicians and everybody got real excited about it,” Grant said.
Many of the musicians had not played together before recent rehearsals, and many are professionals who were giving up a paid gig and donating their time.
“It was a coincidence that the Rolling Stones had their 50th anniversary, and it’s the one-year anniversary for The Queen,” Kevin McCabe of the group Mallory Square.
World Cafe Live at the Queen opened in the spring of 2011 after a $25-million renovation of the Queen Theater, which had been vacant for decades. Grant believes it has provided an important boost to the community, which in recent years has lost such popular venues as Kahunaville on the Wilmington riverfront and The Stone Balloon in Newark.
“It’s a real asset for Wilmington to have something like this,” Grant said.
“The Queen has been great,” added Brad Newsom of Dream Killers. “It’s definitely the best venue we have available right now to play in. It’s really a positive contribution that they’re making.”