Thousands have gathered for the Concerts in the Plaza series, which kicked off its 13th season on June 13 when local band Still Time performed their “face-melting groove rock.”

Every Friday, local talent performs at San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza, where music, dancing, food and fun meet. This Friday’s concert features a Latin vibe with a twist as local band Qué Cosa (meaning “that thing” in English) performs.

“Our music has a lot of elements of traditional Latin music, but is also influenced by (Spanish) pop styles,” said Larry Arone, the band’s co-leader. “We’re going to do songs from our CD, some original arrangements of Cuban standards, and salsa tunes.”

Many band members of Qué Cosa also played with local favorite Salson, which performed at past Concerts in the Plaza events. Event officials said they hope for a good turnout for this Friday’s show.

“The first week had a huge crowd,” said Christine Tiaga, the series’ promotions coordinator. “It was so great. It was graduation weekend, so there were a ton of people – the whole plaza was packed. Last weekend, we had a heat wave, so it was a low turnout.”

The series is free of charge due to its many local sponsors, including Mission Community Bank and Limberg Lasik. Each concert runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., except the special July 4 double header featuring Sugar Daddy Swing Kings at 2:30 p.m. and The Shival Experience and 4:45 p.m. This is the first year the series will feature a double header show.

“We decided to do a double header because it’s not typical that the 4th of July lands on a Friday,” Tiaga said. “So we wanted to celebrate that way. Also, with gas prices going up, some people don’t want to travel too far.”

The early start time for the show is no fluke either.

“It’s early, so if people still want to go to the beach and see the fireworks, they can,” Tiaga said.

What began as a monthly series is now a weekly concert with 13 bands, which is the most ever, Tiaga said. Each band must be local, have at least three members and play dance-friendly music to suit the atmosphere.

“We usually have 12, but because we have a double concert to celebrate Independence Day, we have an extra band,” Tiaga said.
Ten bands are returning to the series, while only three are new features, including last week’s David LaFlamme, this week’s Qué Cosa, and July 25’s Tres Gatos.

Chino’s Mexican Bistro serves tacos and G’s Italian Freeze provides refreshing treats, and beer and wine will be served at a bar set up in the plaza.

To preview some of Qué Cosa’s music, their album “Viejo Amor” can be downloaded from iTunes.

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