Mt. Merrill Gets An Update!

So much of the work of Durham Central Park Inc. is fun, exciting, and community oriented. We love programming our favorite events like PLAYlist Concert Series and the Food Truck Rodeo (BOTH of which are happening this weekend – June 3rd and 5th!) and we love making sure they are free and accessible to anyone and everyone. 


There is another, important, piece of our work that takes precedence from time to time: park maintenance and upkeep. Durham Central Park is Bull City’s backyard, and it is so well-loved for it. With such well attended events and often-visited facilities, updates, like the resurfacing of Mt. Merrill, are necessary to keep the park safe and looking great.

Mt. Merrill Resurfacing
Resurfacing at Mt. Merrill took place last week. The new blue update will ensure that the playground is safe to run and play on.


Mt. Merrill is named in honor of Merrill Davis, a beloved Friend of the Park, who died in a tragic car accident. The play structure honors his memory every day that it brings children from all over the city. The resurfacing took one short week, and already the new updates have seen dozens and dozens of kids climbing and sliding and playing!


As a nonprofit organization, Durham Central Park fundraises for every bit of maintenance work we put in to keep the park safe for anyone to visit. Supporters like you are the reason Mt. Merrill continues to be a recreation destination for families to enjoy year-round. If you’d like to support our work, click here to make a donation today.

Presenting PLAYlist in partnership with WNCU 90.7 FM

Durham Central Park Inc. has presented free concerts in the park since the Warehouse Blues series almost a decade ago. PLAYlist began as a way to bring more concerts to the park with a wider variety of genres. When 2020 brought all it had to offer, we had our first quiet summer in the park. There were still small events and rentals, and the park was the best place for everyone to enjoy each other’s company at a safe social distance. But we missed the dance parties with folks from toddling age to octogenarians. We missed so many beautiful Durham moments. In 2021 we wanted to bring it back and we were fortunate enough to find a great partner in WNCU 90.7 FM, the local jazz station run through NCCU. Ahead of the opening night of PLAYlist Concert Series’ 2022 Season, presented in partnership with WNCU FM on the first Friday night from May to October, we thought you’d like to hear more about the good work this station does for Durham and the greater Triangle community. 

How WNCU Came to Partner on PLAYlist

Lackisha Freeman, General Manager at WNCU, has been there permanently since 2010. She spoke lovingly of Durham, the park and the station.  She enjoys so much about where she is, but she said the most exciting thing, “is community engagement. It’s also the fact that we’re helping to prepare the next generation of broadcasters and journalists, by being licensed by the university. We partner very heavily with the jazz studies program – undergraduate and master. And we actually have more of our announcers who are graduates of the NCCU Jazz program.”

Freeman originally set out to rent the pavilion for a one-time event to engage those younger folks and to have a greater presence and visibility in the community. When DCP asked WCNU to partner on PLAYlist, it was a no-brainer . “We want to reflect the music program we present… the visions being aligned, it’s been an easy partnership.”

 Indeed, Durham Central Park has relished our new relationship. WNCU simulcasts every concert, making PLAYlist widely available to anyone who wants to listen in from home. For Lackisha, “it was a matter of taking our arts presentation to a new level… [with Durham Central Park] we can be a united front and a stronger front.”

With folks feeling more comfortable at outdoor events, our two organizations are poised to be just that. Through this community partnership we are able to offer a free live performance, but also so much more. 

What Makes PLAYlist So Great

Attendees are welcome to join us on the lawn earlier in the evening ahead of the live music and grab food and drinks. DJ Travis Gales presents his live DJ set, “The Friday Night Mix” right in the park for everyone to enjoy, starting at 7pm. And in addition to local food and beverage vendors, we offer the Night Market at PLAYlist, for folks to shop and browse throughout the night. Lackisha said of the DJ set, “Travis’s show has gained popularity. In year three the Friday Night Mix brings tons of listeners. The kind of music and vibe is funk, disco, dance, and recover from the work week.”


Of the impact the concert has had on Lackisha personally, she reflects what we all feel about bringing PLAYlist to fruition. Her favorite memory of 2021’s PLAYlist series, “was the soul train line. I got choked. After everything we went through with the pandemic, to see folks let loose and engage in each other. It was a true representation of the Bull City.”


This concert series is a true love letter from DCP and WNCU to the community. To provide space for Durham to be Durham, “this is why we’re doing what we’re doing and partnering with you all at Durham Central Park. I’m excited about this first concert we’re rolling out this Friday. I’m elated we’re kicking off with six concerts. Feeling safer, learning a lot, and we’re coming back stronger than ever. I’m just really psyched.”


Durham Central Park and WNCU FM presents PLAYlist’s opening night featuring Shana Tucker, who will be giving us an “Evening of Sade”. We could not be more excited, and we could not be more grateful to WNCU for making this partnership a boon to the entire community: from everyone on the lawn, to the vendors under the pavilion, to listeners at home. If you would like to support our work of providing the PLAYlist experience to the community completely free of charge you can make a donation to Durham Central Park here, and WNCU here.


The Story of Storytime

While all Durham Central Park programs are free, fun, and family friendly (like our PLAYlist concert series which opens May 6th at 8pm with Shane Tucker!), Storytime was a program made just for kids, thanks to the most kind and knowledgeable park supporter and neighbor, Kristin Reali. Our second season of Storytime began at the end of March, and four weeks in, we’ve already had so many kids enjoying the best of the park at this wonderful early literacy offering, which is completely free to attend – every Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:30am. We are sharing a great conversation we had a few weeks ago with Ms. Kristin below, to showcase her many talents and expertise in the field of speech language pathology, to give you an idea of why Storytime with Barnaby D. Troll is so great.


Storytime with Barnaby D. Troll and Friends at Durham Central Park

An Interview with Kristin Reali

DCP: So Ms. Kristin, thank you for meeting with me! Can you just say who you are, what your background is, and what brought you to the park for Storytime?

Kristin: So my name is Kristin Reali, and I’m a former speech language pathologist of over thirty years working with children birth to six. I started out in the hospital setting, and moved out into the school setting and private setting as well, and I have always had a love for learning language through different media – whether that’s play, or music or literacy. All of those are really strong in helping children who are delayed in not only their language skills – how they’re putting words together, but their speech skills also – so how they’re making sounds to form words. And by telling stories with them and engaging children to participate in the storytelling, it’s been very effective to help them develop their communication skills. My husband and I moved to Durham in May of 2020, and it was right during the pandemic, so I didn’t think I was going to go back into a school setting as a speech pathologist. But I wanted to fill the void as far as working with children and it had been difficult finding places to volunteer during the pandemic: all the kids were remote and at home and there weren’t a lot of venues for – the libraries and Barnes & Nobles had closed down their storytimes, and I live close to Durham Central Park. I was so impressed with the setting, with Mt. Merrill, and the play space, and the idea just grabbed me, and I thought, “Oh my goodness!” This would be a fabulous place to have a storytime in a safe setting, in an outdoor setting, where we could give parents, caregivers, grandparents, and their children a time to learn language. This has been a really tough time for young children because of their lack of opportunities to socialize with their peers. And if they do have delays in their speech and language, I think parents have been a little reluctant to take them to be evaluated in school, so I thought it was a great opportunity. So I emailed Erin about my plan to see if it was something that DCP would be interested in putting on your large agenda of activities! And we met at the park and I shared some ideas and I think she ran it by the board and we launched it last march, a year ago!

DCP: So what are your goals as far as things that are important in early literacy, like, in terms of benchmarks, what have you?

K: So I initially geared this program toward preschoolers, but what I have found especially this past fall and this spring is that I’ve had younger groups closer to toddlers 18mos all the way up to five. So this is really important for how I choose my stories. The most important thing to me is that I’m not telling a story. I’m sharing a story that they can share back with me and ultimately provide an opportunity for them to then take that story home and share it well and use their communication skills and language, and also empower parents with reading to their children and involving their children in that activity. So that really is my goal. That throughout the story they can have a part too. Last spring I had a young boy join us with disabilities – he used what’s called an augmentative communication board – he was nonverbal. And that inspired me to add gestures to the story so that all kids can participate. So I have a gesture or sign each session – the other day our sign was “more” so we did, “Bear wants more.” Yesterday was pointing up and saying “to the rescue” all together. Just simple simple signs that allow a child who may not have the words yet, but first can use those physical movements which children develop before they develop communication skills.

DCP: So when you are picking the stories are there things that you look out for particularly in a story that can help you to facilitate that development?

K: So I’m choosing stories that don’t have a lot of narration but are more predictable in nature so that there is repetitive language throughout the story, so that the child can then know it’s their turn to use the words. It can be a phrase, it can be a single word or gesture, but it’s that predictability that I think is engaging for young kids because it allows them to understand the story and then share the story pretty quickly.

DCP: And you repeat songs and things like that, throughout a particular story, yes, but also from storytime to storytime – like the “Hello” song.

K: Yes, we always start our storytime with the “Hello” song, by saying hello to all our friends at Durham Central Park, like Barnaby, and Rockin’ Reuben and Mr. Pickles. So that’s something the kids have learned, and the ones that come back, I see that they’ve learned the song and enjoy it. There are a lot of gestures in that song so young kids can get up and wave their hand hello and wiggle their body, and calm their body before listening to a story. And then I have a very thematic approach with the stories I choose based on the time of year, the season, so I try to then choose a song after the story that is relevant to the season. Right now with spring it’s – 

DCP: Funny little bunny goes hop, hop, hop!

K: And the bunny hokey pokey!! You’ve probably observed this, but when the kids have heard the stories, they are ready to get up and move, and they love movement. They enjoy hopping and skipping and waving, and jumping.

DCP: Yeah, that’s another reason the park is so great for storytime. Like if someone is not in a listening mood they can take a walk to the creek or visit Barnaby…

K: Or they can climb and slide at Mt Merrill too. And that’s a great thing, I think parents can get frustrated if their child is not at the level where they have the attention span to listen to the entire story. And I think it’s helpful that they know I have a background in working with children, and know those milestones and assure them that this is very typical that they aren’t able to. In fact, one of the concerned moms who came back this season came to me at the first or second storytime and said proudly, “She listened the whole time!” 

DCP: That’s so encouraging.

K: Yeah, seeing that growth has been fun.

DCP: So, let’s talk about the crafts. Obviously the craft has something usually to do with the story and theme.

K: I try, I really try to do that. It’s just another way that the child can remember the story and listen to it. To take that craft home, and not only show the craft but tell the story and use it with their imagination, communication and language.

DCP: I think my favorite craft was the map that we made last year!

K: Goin’ on a bear hunt?

DCP: That was a fun one. It’s a great addition to just the stories, songs, being physically active but also artistically engaged. So what’s on the horizon for storytime?

K: So this coming week we have a holiday that not everybody celebrates but to keep the bunny- spring theme, we are going to do an egg hunt! And of course, I have a really good stroyt about a turkey that desperately wants to be a bunny rabbit. And I have my favorite authors.. I love Eric Carle, and I love Pete the Cat. There are some of these favorites that definitely lend to repetitive storytelling, the ease of storytelling that engages a child to tell the story with you. And that really is what i want to offer to these kids

DCP: That’s amazing. Well I hope we get a ton of people for the egg hunt, especially with the weather getting nicer. I was so surprised to see on that forty degree day upwards of thirty kids, all bundled up and snuggled for storytime!

K: I was thrilled, it was so wonderful!

DCP: And we are trying to get a coffee truck for sleepy parents. So there is a lot that is popping off at the park with flowers blooming.

K: And you have that bee hotel! I’ve wanted to incorporate that, so I’ve been looking for some age-appropriate pollinator books. I just want everyone to enjoy it, from the littles to the oldest ones who are 5. I just want everyone to get something great out of it.

DCP: Well thank you for volunteering your expertise and time to the park, I think storytime is really a fabulous offering that the park can give.

K: Absolutely, when communication is the foundation of everything, that’s so important to offer – the opportunity to to use their language skills through storytelling.


Durham Central Park’s mission is providing space for community. Join Ms. Kristin and DCP for Storytime at the Leaf (behind Mt. Merrill) every Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:30am. All the work at Durham Central Park is powered by the support of volunteers like Ms. Kristin, and donors like you! If you would like to support programs like Storytime, consider making a donation today.

Sustainable Durham Central Park

As Durham Central Park opens its 2022 Event season with the Food Truck Rodeo this Sunday, March 20, we have taken the winter to decide on priorities. We asked ourselves, what makes a Durham Central Park event so great? We of course ensure that all of our programming is free and accessible to anyone and everyone. And there is no compromise on quality. But what is the good of a high quality, free event when it has a high cost to the environment, to our greenspace, and to our beautiful Ellerbee Creek

In consideration of our footprint as a major event venue in Downtown Durham, we are taking large strides in reducing the impact of those events on our environment. Here are five ways you might notice at the Rodeo Sunday that we’ve committed to being more Green.


5 Ways DCP Events Just Got More Sustainable

1. Paper Maps are Out, Virtual is In!

As you walk through the park on Sunday you might need help navigating your way through the many food and drink offerings. How to choose? This year, we made our map interactive so you can click on a truck, vendor, or feature! That way you can find the menus, decide on your path and streamline your Rodeo experience. As you walk through the Rodeo, look for the QR codes we have placed at the DCP table, the bathrooms, A-frames throughout the park, and the welcome banner at the entrance to the park on Hunt and Foster Street. When you scan the QR code it will take you to this page, where you can find the interactive map.

Save this photo or click on it and bookmark the site to get the interactive map!

2. Refillable Soap with Fillaree 

You may be thinking, how can soap be sustainable? But Alyssa from Fillaree explains that refilling is better than just recycling and compost. Refilling prevents the waste in the first place, and as an event venue, you would be surprised by the amount of soap that we go through! Durham Central Park is lucky to have Fillaree as a sponsor, donating refillable soap to make our restrooms trash free (and it happens to be way better soap than that pink slime most venues resort to).

3. H2O 2 Go

Many thanks to the City of Durham for providing an excellent way to keep everyone at the Rodeo hydrated. Did you know it takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic in  a bottle of water? By providing a way to refill a reusable water bottle or cup, we are diverting thousands of bottles of water from the waste stream, and preventing the waste of energy and water used to make the bottles in the first place. The H2O 2 Go trailer is in space #4 next to the restrooms at the pavilion. If you don’t have a refillable bottle to fill up at the trailer, not to worry! You can use our new DCP Reusable Cups!

4. Reusable Cups?! 

That’s right, folks! All our alcohol and craft beverage vendors will be sporting the same 16oz Reusable Cups to keep the thousands of cups used at our Rodeos and other events from going into the landfill. Since plastic cups are not recyclable in Durham, we wanted to create a free reusable alternative to the typical, trashy option. When you are finished with your reusable cups find one of our Waste Recovery Stations and one of our Waste Warriors will help sort the cups to be washed and returned to vendors come the next DCP event. Special thanks to cup sponsors, Ponysaurus, Homebucha, The Glass Jug Beer Lab, Fullsteam, Honeygirl Meadery, Botanist and Barrel, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Durty Bull, Grove Winery and Markabull!

5. Speaking of Waste Warriors… 

We have to say a special thank you to everyone who signs up to volunteer at our Food Truck Rodeo, but especially the Waste Warriors who help us to keep our food waste from going in the landfill. They are stationed at every Waste Recovery location to ensure there is zero contamination in our Compost carts and that we aren’t wish-cycling any pesky plastics. So whenever you decide to come down to the Rodeo, Sunday make sure to show your appreciation to the helpers making this the most low-waste Food Truck Rodeo ever.


Thank you again to Fillaree, H2O 2 Go, The City of Durham Solid Waste Department, Markabull for our new cups, and also to environmental organizations like Don’t Waste Durham and Keep Durham Beautiful for inspiring us to make small changes that have a big impact. 

If you appreciate our efforts and want to support our work, click here to donate to Durham Central Park.


See you Sunday at Durham Central Park’s LOW WASTE Food Truck Rodeo, 12-4pm!

5 Ways to be a Friend of the Park

Durham Central Park is an organization that was built from the ground up, through the work of volunteers, neighbors, and Friends of the Park.

Since the park’s inception, our Friends of the Park have supported DCP Inc. as a 501(c)3 with a mission for providing space for community. We do just that by offering  year-round free programming, keeping the green-space well maintained, and offering a space in Downtown Durham for respite, recreation, refreshment, and restoration.

Our efforts are nothing without Friends of the Park like you. If you are interested in how to become a Friend of the Park, read on to learn more about ways to participate.

Food Truck Rodeo March 20 12-4pm
Join us for our March 20 Rodeo 12-4pm at the DCP Pavilion!


5 Ways to Be a Friend of the Park

1. Help make our events sustainable!

Our 2022 Event Season kicks off with the March 20 Food Truck Rodeo! Supporters like you help us to ensure that the Rodeo, and all of our events, are as low waste as possible. Help educate the public on recycling and waste diversion (and learn some yourself too!). Recoup reusables to prevent landfill overflow.  If waste doesn’t interest you, staff the info table so event attendees can find their favorite truck! We have shifts for volunteers of all ages and abilities. Sign up here or email [email protected]


2. Join us at our bi-monthly workdays!

Being Downtown Durham’s backyard is no small feat, and wouldn’t be possible with out the 740+ volunteer hours our Friends of the Park have put in each year to cleaning up brush, mulching paths, pruning, trimming, hacking and raking! Our workdays are bimonthly during the Durham Farmers’ Market 10am-12pm. Our upcoming spring workday is THIS SATURDAY March 12, and the remaining Spring Workdays are March 26, April 9 & 23, and May 14 & 28



This neighbor comes down with her own tools to Durham Central Park to help de-litter!

3. Lead the Way in Litter Pick Up!

When you take your walks through Durham Central Park, make it more purposeful in the easiest way possible! On your route pick up just three pieces of litter and take it to a conveniently located receptacle. You can help keep the park looking beautiful and trash-free as you go, or reach out to us if you would like tools and guidance, or even to arrange a meet and greet clean-up with your friends and neighbors! By pitching in and picking up, you help make our green spaces cleaner, healthier, safer and more beautiful!

4. Help Us Reach More Friends

Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Do our Facebook Events help keep you in the loop? Did you know you can set alerts to get the latest from the Durham Central Park instagram page to? However you get your DCP news, when you like and comment on our events, when you share about the marvelous time you had picnicking on our great lawn, you help us build our audience! By helping Durham Central Park reach more Friends, you make DCP Events accessible to the greater community.

5. Give to the Friends of the Park Campaign

Durham Central Park provides maintenance, free programming, affordable facilities, and green space for all in Downtown Durham. And every gift to DCP means we can achieve our mission of providing space for the community. Donate to Durham Central Park today, and then join us at our next DCP event to see how your contribution supports our work.

Volunteer at our Saturday Workdays!

Volunteer workdays in 2022: after 3 snowy weekends, we are ready to get out to the park and beautify!

This winter, we are hosting 4 cleanup/beautification workdays at the park. Workdays are a great opportunity to build community, earn volunteering credit, and support the park. All ages and abilities welcome! 

They are scheduled for the following Saturday’s from 10am-Noon:

February 5 (this Saturday!)

February 26

March 12

March 26

Our workdays will continue year-round, so stay tuned for Spring and Summer dates!

Join Us This Saturday! 


We will be cleaning up the bio-retention area next to the bridge on the east side of the park. We’ll cut out invasive trees (mimosa & privet), pull out brambles and cut back tall flower stalks. Then in the spring and summer it will be lush, full of flowers and protect the park from flooding. 


We’ll meet at the bridge near Hunt and Foster Street (across from the entrance to the pavilion) at 10am. Look for Erin and Bryce and a couple of wheelbarrows full of tools. 


We’ll provide tools and have plenty of gloves. Please bring your own water bottle and if you prefer to use your own tools and gloves, bring those too!


If you can’t find us, please feel free to call or text Erin at 919-794-8194 and we’ll find you. 


Our volunteer workdays take place during the Durham Farmers’ Market. The farmers’ market will be open from 10-Noon as well, so there will be a lot of folks around… and lots of good food too. 

If you can’t join us this Saturday, sign up here to receive updates about future workdays.


See you Saturday!


DCP Pavilion Undergoes Improvements

The Pavilion at Durham Central Park is getting a major update:

Painting begins at the DCP Pavilion today, January 19, 2022, and will continue throughout the next month! Yes, this means the pavilion will be periodically closed off to park patrons. Because of weather, rentals, and the painting process, the painting of the pavilion will take place intermittently. So be sure to check if the pavilion has caution tape out before heading to the pavilion for recreation. If the pavilion is roped off and there are painters under the pavilion please enjoy the many other attractions at DCP like the pollinator garden and bee hotel, Mt. Merrill, the Pixel Wall, Barnaby D. Troll and more on the east side of the park.

We will be closing off the pavilion intermittently. Please avoid the highlighted area when you see the pavilion entrances roped off with caution tape.

The Pavilion at Durham Central Park opened with a grand celebration in 2007. Since then, it has hosted weddings, classes, festivals, events, and of course, the Durham Farmers’ Market. The market and other rentals will continue to be open while the painting process goes on, but during the week, we will be restricting access to the pavilion.


Gonzales Painters and Contractors, Inc. Begins painting in the Durham Central Park Pavilion
Gonzales Painters and Contractors have begun painting the DCP Pavilion

We’d like to thank Gonzales Painters and Contractors Inc. for providing quality improvement to our beloved pavilion! This will be the first time since the DCP Pavilion opened that we’ve done painting improvements. Routine maintenance is key to keeping our well loved park a safe, dynamic, and fun place to be!


Like the improvements we’re making?

Support the work we do to keep the park amazing by donating todayDurham Central Park Inc. is a 501(c)3 that relies on donations and sustainers to maintain, program, and fund this beautiful green space downtown Durham.

DCP Board Members Match the First $25,000 of Your Donations!

The place for community once again is Durham Central Park. As we have navigated the ever-changing pandemic, this park – a five-acre oasis in downtown, open to everyone – has never been more vital.

Our staff of three, along with hundreds of volunteers, board members, new neighbors, and supporters, like you, make it possible for Durhamites and visitors to enjoy the park’s lush gardens and trails, tranquil benches and gorgeous vistas. We maintain this beating heart of the city’s center, 24/7/365, fulfilling the promise made decades ago to transform an overgrown, trash-strewn eyesore into a lively community gathering space. At no time since has this beautiful, accessible park been so important.

This city park, however, is like no other in Durham. It is managed, programmed and improved by a 501c3 non-profit organization, DCP, Inc. We receive no city funding for this work. We oversee all aspects of the park – presenting free programming, hosting hundreds of events at the Pavilion, overseeing the daily maintenance and management of the space.

These past two years, we have put a sharp focus on improving and expanding the park’s gardens, trails, and trees. Heading into 2022, our focus will be on improvements and repairs to the park’s aging facilities, increasing seating, strengthening our free programming and community partnerships. Most importantly, we will spend time visioning and planning for the future so that the park can continue to meet the demands of our growing city.

I invite you to support us or renew your commitment to Durham Central Park by:

  •         Joining as a Friend of Durham Central Park through a three-year pledge of support
  •         Becoming a Monthly, Quarterly, or Annual Park Sustainer
  •         Making a Year-End Gift

This fall, a generous group of DCP, Inc. board members will be matching the first $25,000 of your donations in this year end campaign. Your gift offers comfort and inclusion for all in the heart of a rapidly changing Durham. Thank you for your support and helping to chart our course for a successful 2022.

With gratitude,

Erin Kauffman, Executive Director

Nil Ghosh, Board Chair



Your Feedback: PLAYlist Audience Survey Is Live!

LOOK at these September and October photos by Lis Tyroler Photography. They’re snapshots of pure JOY at the second half of our 2021 PLAYlist Concert Series, presented in partnership with WNCU 90.7.   If you attended one, two, three or all four concerts (Al Strong-July 2, Vanessa Ferguson-August 6,  September: A Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire-September 3 and Soul Understated ft. Mavis Swan Pool-October 1) please take a few moments to complete out our new 2021 Audience Survey or click the pop up, so we can learn what you like and what we can do better. Durham Magazine readers named Durham Central Park a 2021 Best Venue for Live music (large venue) in their annual Best Of Survey but we want to hear from you now that this season is a wrap.   Offering free, welcoming and inclusive programming is integral to Durham Central Park’s mission of Providing Space for Community. In addition to PLAYlist, our programming includes the Children’s Independence Day Parade and the annual Iron Pour.   Over the past 21 years, DCP has become a unique activity hub downtown. It’s a beloved community gathering space and some see it as a “sacred” place in the heart of Durham. Why? Because Durham residents and businesses have made an investment in creating, building and sustaining this wonderful urban oasis. None of this would be happening today without supporters like you.   As the non-profit that manages and programs the park, DCP, Inc. relies on your financial support. If you love our free programming or just the feeling that you get when visiting the park, please make a secure one time or sustaining donation at Or, mail a check to: Durham Central Park, PO Box 1526, Durham NC 27702.

Soul Understated: PLAYlist Concert Series finale Friday

PLAYlist’s finale night, Friday, October 1, presents Soul Understated featuring Mavis “Swan” Pool! Led by vocalist extraordinaire Mavis ’SWAN’ Poole (Lauryn Hill, Prince) and powerful yet melodic drummer Jeremy ‘BEAN’ Clemons (who has performed with Gregory Porter and Burning Spear), Soul Understated delivers a beautifully performed organic sound with stellar musicianship. As a result, they’ve appeared at such major festivals as The Blue Note Jazz Fest, The Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest and Toronto Jazz Festival. Mavis appeared in the HBO series Vinyl! Check out this Kennedy Center footage and look at all this local talent rounding out the band:

Branden Williams II – Keyboards
Hugh Swaso – Guitar
Stacy Dillard – Saxophones
Al Strong – Trumpet
Brevan Hampden – Percussion

WNCU’s Friday night Funk, Old School and Disco show and its host, DJ Travis Gales, simulcasts live from Durham Central Park at 7 p.m. Soul Understated play a 90-minute set at 8 p.m. Local food and beverage vendors are Amagee’s, Oink n’ Moo, Epic Vegan Food Truck, JAM Ice Cream, Glass Jug, Bull City Burger and Brewery and Portfolio Group.

Reserve your free tickets and we’ll see you at the park Friday!