Many danced in the rain at the first-annual, free summer concert event organized by members of the community.

Hundreds gathered in the lawn at Molalla River Brewing Company on June 4 for the first-annual Les Schwab Molalla River Summer Jam. Many donned rain gear and ponchos and huddled under umbrellas while they enjoyed the offerings from food trucks, local market vendors and live music.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY MATLOCK - Vendors, like Church of Smoke BBQ rubs, came out for a market ahead of the concert event.

The market vendors opened shop at 10 a.m. Vendors included Church of Smoke barbeque, Cowgirls Trading Company, Rusty Rings, and more. Food trucks Bayou Brothers and Beloved Cheesecakes came out and Triangle Design & Printing created T-shirts and sweatshirts for the concert. To kick things off, Clint Ancell DJed while folks arrived in the afternoon.

The free, community event was organized in large part by Mayor Scott Keyser, to bring the community together for an evening of fun. The rain was somewhat unexpected — but didn't stop locals from coming out in full force.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY MATLOCK - Slow dancing in the rain: A little downpour couldn't dampen the spirits of Summer Jam attendees.

Keyser estimated that 350-400 people came from Molalla and surrounding areas for the new event. Throughout the evening, five musical acts performed for the crowd as they danced in the rain.

"We decided not to cancel the show," Keyser said. "We wanted to be resilient, just like the people are in Molalla."

So as the weather forecast came in, volunteers gathered tarps and pop-up tents and put on the event despite the downpour.

The event was the debut of The Blue Collar Brothers band, made up of vocalist Dave Wyatt, lead and rhythm guitarist Tim Warner, Brian Rose playing the keys, Scotty Tolstead on bass and Jeff Toth on the drums.

Also performing was Dave Dickey, a longtime Molalla musician and mentor to Eli Howard. Together, the two performed "Maybe Tomorrow," which Dickey wrote, from Howard's album.

For Trent Beaver, this concert was an opportunity to give back to the community that supported him during the pandemic.

"We're trying to build a foundation do something every year to celebrate our community for what it is, which is awesome," Beaver said.

As for next year, Keyser and other organizers hope to have an even bigger and better event. Planning for next year's Summer Jam will begin in August, Keyser said, with a goal of moving the concert to the Molalla Buckaroo rodeo grounds.

Anyone interested in volunteering for next year can reach out to Keyser or through the Molalla River Summer Jam's Facebook page.

"We look forward to putting more concert events together for the community, by the community," Keyser said.

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