Friday After 5 has launched a nationwide search for a new executive director.

Jay Velotta, board chairman of the free 16-week downtown music festival, said, “In the past, it’s always been filled internally.”

Kirk Kirkpatrick retired from the post in 2016 after 20 years.

Then came Teresa Thomas, who served from 2016 to 2019, and, in January, Starr Nalley was appointed interim executive director.

Velotta said the board hoped that Nalley would become executive director and stay there for years.

But he said Nalley has taken a job out of state and resigned.

Vellotta said the position has been part-time in the past.

But the board decided to make it a full-time position and advertise in nationally.

“This thing has just grown so much,” Velotta said. “We’re trying to position ourselves for the future to be bigger and better. We need a strong leader.”

Friday After 5 was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But in recent years, it had drawn an estimated 5,000 people to the downtown riverfront on Friday nights from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Friday After 5 began in 1997 with the Arnold Chin Band playing in the Atmos Energy Courtyard at the RiverPark Center.

By 2019, the festival stretched all the way from the RiverPark Center to the convention center on four outdoor stages and drew an estimated 70,000 people a year.

Since Friday After 5 only lasts 16 weeks, why does it need a full-time executive director?

“You don’t stop in this job,” Velotta said. “The 16 weeks of the festival aren’t the busiest times. It’s the off-season, getting sponsors, booking bands and everything else. It’s an ideal position for a talented, driven individual.”

The job description says, “The executive director position is responsible for overseeing the daily administration, programs and strategic plan of Friday After 5.”

It adds, “Key duties include fundraising, marketing and community outreach, as well as responsibility for the organization’s consistent achievement of the Friday After 5 mission.”

Pay will be based on the person’s “experience and ability,” the announcement said.

The application is available at

People with questions can send an email to

Applications, including resumes, cover letters and references, are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 1.

The announcement says Friday After 5 hopes to have the new executive director hired by early September.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

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