Welcome to Macon, freshmen. You have no excuse to be bored.

Welcome to Mercer, new Mercerians! Hopefully you will come to love this university and this city—with all its ups and downs—as much as we do now after you’ve been here a few years. A word of advice: get to know this town. Macon has a tough reputation from the outside world, but it also has a rich tradition of history and music. Otis Redding, the Allman Brothers and the kazoo all started their musical journeys here, and the current residents continue that tradition with a wide array of musical and theatrical performances. Here’s a quick reference for all the ways you can stay entertained on campus and downtown.
Second Sunday – Every Sunday in Washington Park, just across from the library on Washington Avenue, the College Hill Alliance hosts a free concert at sunset. Downtown eateries set up booths for drinks and picnic food so that you can enjoy live music from local bands in one of Macon’s scenic historical parks. This month’s Second Sunday has already passed, but on September 9 The Vespers will be performing in the early afternoon (1:00-3:00). Get there early for a good seat!
Third Thursday –  Another project through the College Hill Alliance, Third Thursday takes place every month in the Mercer Village.  Live musicians come to play while patrons and poor college students enjoy discounts from Ingleside Village Pizza, Francar’s and other shops in the Village. For a few hours pedestrians can enjoy the run of Montpelier Avenue as the street is blocked off to accommodate the party.
The 567 – This downtown locale is a great venue space—just small enough to be considered intimate but not uncomfortably cramped—with a steady flow of affordable concerts on the calendar. For a $10 cover charge you can get a ticket to this week’s concert featuring Erra, Becoming the Archetype, Wanderer and All is Lost. The following day, Saturday, is the 567’s monthly concert in which artists tell the stories behind their music. Students with ID can get in for $5 to hear Megg Serrano, Baxter James and Lucas Woodgeard talk about what makes them sing.
Theatre performances – Because the Mercer Players can’t perform their excellent plays for us every week (though we wish they could), Macon has two local theatre venues: Theater Macon and The Macon Little Theatre. They may not be the Royal Shakespeare Company, but don’t count them out when you’re itching to see a theatrical performance between Mercer Players shows. The Macon Little Theatre opens with the farce “Boeing – Boeing” on August 24,  and on September 7 Theatre Macon will begin their run of “Becky’s New Car”. A little pricier than the 567 but much less so than the Grand, and a classy choice for a date night.
Midnight Movie – This event will probably become one of your favorites. Because college students keep ungodly hours anyway, the AmStar on Zebulon Road hosts this event twice each semester. For $2, Mercer students with a student ID can see one of several recently released movies at a midnight showing. Keep an eye on the QuadWorks announcements for this semester’s Midnight Movie dates, and watch the lobby in Connell—if you buy your ticket early in the day at the table in the lobby you can avoid a long line that night. All that extra time could be spent figuring out what to smuggle into the movie from the Kroger next door to the theater.
The Hummingbird – There’s a minimal cover charge, but the Bird (as it is affectionately known) offers plenty of local music and flavor, in addition to the occasional nationally known band. Weekends always see some kind of music playing at the Bird, and Wednesday nights combine music and team trivia. They can be picky about an age limit of 21, but occasionally they offer shows for the not-quite-legal-yet population. Just ask.
The Grand Opera House – Located downtown on Mulberry Street, the Grand is the place to go if you want to break the bank for some quality entertainment. Hosting everything from live music to comedy routines to Broadway musicals, the Grand is worth what you spend when you can afford it. For a quick glimpse of the lovely historic theater, take a trip downtown on August 30 for the free classical strings concert the Grand is hosting for the community.
The Golden Bough – In addition to the occasional live music performance or poetry reading, The Golden Bough is a great place to go for used and discount books (much, much cheaper than Mercer’s Barnes & Noble). Browse around or just cuddle up in a chair and read, and talk to the staff—they’re very friendly and love to talk books.
Townsend School of Music – For those of you who enjoy chamber or classical music, look no further than the edge of campus.  Mercer’s music school delivers fantastic performances on a weekly basis, and our school for strings attracts the best of the best from all across the country. And best of all, it’s free.  Check the music school Web site for a calendar of events and keep an eye out for flyers on the kiosk outside Connell and on the bulletin boards in the campus post office.