The musical acts Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Barenaked Ladies and David Nail will headline at the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville for its 2014 season, launching in late May.

The musical acts Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Barenaked Ladies and David Nail will headline at the Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville for its 2014 season, launching in late May.

The announcement was made April 9 during a Freeman Stage press conference, held at The Cove at Bayside Resort Golf Club in Selbyville.

10 major acts

The three big names will be joined by seven other national acts (making it 10 total), such as The Beach Boys, Bruce Hornsby, Aaron Neville Duo, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam, Firefall and Jennifer Nettles.

The Freeman Stage will offer 50-plus performances this season with an array of entertainment, from children’s theater and concerts for kids to a ballet performance, flamenco dancing, Irish jazz and rock music. Half of the performances will also be available for free.

"What I love about the season so much is it’s kind of a throwback to the old with Bruce Hornsby, The Beach Boys and Firefall,” said Michelle Freeman, president and chairwoman of the Freeman Stage. "And [there’s] a little bit of the new with Jennifer Nettles and the Barenaked Ladies. David Nail was just announced on the Country Music Awards and he’s an up-and-comer in country music, so we’re so excited about having him. I just look at each one of these groups and think, ‘It’s going to be a great night of art.’”

Among this season’s scheduled performers are such crowd favorites as the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Clear Space Theatre Group, Jesse Garron’s tribute to Elvis, and the First State Ballet Theatre. Also returning in 2014 are the Arts & Jazz Festival, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, local painter John Donato, Tommy Edward as Sir Rod, tribute band, Hotel California: "A Salute to the Eagles” and Bruce in the USA, whose performance will include special guests in the audience from Operation SEAs the Day: a an event held in September for vets who are recovering from injuries sustained while serving the country.

Something for everyone

Assembling a strong, diverse program has been a top priority for Michelle Freeman when deciding on which acts she’d bring to the Freeman Stage this season, as well as in past seasons. The Freeman Stage’s knack for presenting an eclectic arts program has been key in helping it secure grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts, since the DDOA (an organization that administers grants and programs that support arts programming throughout the state) offers funding based on how well an organization provides a “diversity of programming that brings in a diversity of audiences,” said Paul Weagraff, the director of the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Boost in profits

Financially the Freeman Stage grew from $1.9 million in total revenue and support (including in-kind donations) in its 2012 season to 2.1 million in total revenue and support in its 2013 season. The majority of the Freeman Stage’s profits from 2013 were in ticket and concession sales.

Freeman Stage Marketing and Communications Manager Doug Phillips attributes the organization’s jump in boost in profit to several variables, including its wide selection of entertainment and its commitment to community outreach to schools in the Indian River School District (bussing local children to see free concerts has in return inspired parents and family of the students to purchase tickets to Freeman events).

In addition, a concerted effort has been made to market the Freeman Stage in locations nearly an hour away from Selbyville, including Bridgeville and Seaford. The Freeman Stage also had an increase in sponsors from its 2012 season to 2013, which made an impact in raising profits over the last year.

"We had a huge increase in sponsor support,” Phillips said. "2013 was a great year for us and we anticipate the same thing for 2014. We’ve already had a strong showing of sponsorship so far.”

The Minnesota-based Rhythmic Circus, a seven-piece band featuring tap dancers, will start off the Freeman Stage’s 2014 season on May 24 with a show titled “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!” The performance will be free.

With a hodgepodge of different performers to see at the Freeman Stage this season, Michelle Freeman can’t wait for patrons to enjoy the buffet of entertainment she has lined up for audiences.

"I think it’s a great representation of rock, jazz, country and beach music, which is really important to people that grew up here,” she said. "I don’t know that there’s anything not represented here.”

To see the entire lineup of the Freeman Stage's 2014 season, click here.


WHAT Rhythmic Circus presents “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!”; Rhythmic Circus opens the 2014 season of Freeman Stage

WHEN 7 p.m., Saturday, May 24

WHERE Freeman Stage at Bayside, 31750 Lake View Drive, Selbyville


INFO Visit or call (302) 436-3015