A nonsmoking environment, an attentive audience and a beautiful backdrop make the Moonlight Music Cruises along the Augusta Canal one of Denny Kotz’s favorite gigs.
He and Dennis Hall make up the duo Double D, performing Oct. 18.
Though he’s played on the Petersburg boat in the past at other times of the year – this year Double D also performed in April – Kotz said October is his favorite.
“It’s a beautiful time of year,” he said. “All the other times that we’ve done it in October, the weather’s been perfect. Clear skies, the temperatures are just right.”
The cruises start in April but take a hiatus during July and August, the hottest part of summer. They will resume Sept. 6, with newcomer Chris Morgan performing celtic, folk and classic rock ballads.
Every year, organizers try to schedule new artists as well as fan favorites, said Rebecca Rogers, the marketing director for the Augusta Canal.
When the series began in 2006, music cruises were offered one Friday a month. They were so popular that the next year the schedule expanded to two Fridays a month. In 2008, a second season was added. This year, there are 22 dates scheduled each Friday between April 5 and Nov. 1 except July and August.
Rogers said a few artists, such as Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold, have performed nearly every year since the beginning.
“We’ve developed over the years a roster of musicians,” Rogers said.
Music genres range from jazz to rock to bluegrass. The setting is unique and relaxing, and it offers guests something different to do, she said.
“It’s a pleasant thing for couples to do that’s not the usual dinner and a movie,” she said. “The musicians enjoy it because they have an audience that’s appreciating them. It’s not a noisy bar or restaurant. They connect to the audience, and I think the audience likes that, too.”
That’s another thing Kotz enjoys about performing on the boat.
Double D performs classic rock ranging from Chuck Berry to the Beatles and Marshall Tucker, and Kotz said the acoustics under the bridges is phenomenal. Sometimes the boat operators will stop and let them perform there.
“It’s pure delight,” Kotz said. “My partner, Dennis, says it’s absolutely the best gig a musician can perform.”
Moonlight Music cruises are $25. Visit augustacanal.com for details on all available cruises on the canal.