The show almost didn’t go on.
Hoopfest organizers planned a free outdoor community concert Thursday to kick off the 25th annual Hoopfest tournament but spent much of the day watching the rain pour down and checking the weather forecast.
The skies cleared in time for opening acts the Marshall McLean Band and Cathedral Pearls, but by the time hometown favorite Cami Bradley took the stage just before 9 p.m., the rain started again.
The 2,000 or so fans braving the soggy Clocktower Meadow in Riverfront Park to listen to the soulful voice of the “America’s Got Talent” finalist took the rain in stride, however. Umbrellas popped open and hoods went up and a few people relocated under trees. “A little rain never hurt anyone,” said one man.
“Gosh, you’re so good to be here,” Bradley said to the crowd. “I’m sorry it’s raining on your heads.”
Earlier in the day Bradley had one sound check delayed by a thunderstorm and ended up doing it in the pouring rain after the lightning passed. Despite the weather, she was thrilled to be a part of Hoopfest’s first concert.
“It’s a community event,” she said in an interview earlier Thursday. “It’s one of those things people come out for even if they don’t play basketball. Heck yes, I’m in for that.”
Bradley, who is from Spokane, said she’s usually downtown during every Hoopfest to watch her husband play.
“I played one year,” she said. “It was a terrible experience, only because I’m terrible at basketball. I’ll stick to singing.”
Hoopfest director Matt Santangelo said organizers decided to add a community concert this year to expand the event to four days, and bringing Bradley in for the show seemed like a natural fit. The idea was embraced by Bradley and her husband, Eric Bradley.
“They really took it and ran with the idea,” Santangelo said.
He doesn’t know yet if the concert will become a regular feature of the three-on-three basketball tournament.
“We’re not concert producers,” he said. “That’s a whole other dynamic.”
Bradley said she picked the local bands that opened for her.
“They’re really talented,” she said. “I like to support local musicians who are doing it for a living.”
Bradley is certainly performing music for a living now. Before her appearance on “America’s Got Talent” last year she was the music director at Life Center Church, where her husband also works. Bradley said she hasn’t fully transitioned to the rock star life.
“I still pinch myself,” she said. “I’m still figuring out what the new normal is.”
Thursday was the last chance for her Spokane fans to see her this year. She’s fully booked for the rest of the year and has no more public performances scheduled in Spokane.
She’s currently writing songs for her second album; the first, “SEAS,” was released last year. She’s also been collaborating with Alabama singer Whitney Dean under the name The Sweeplings. The duo plans to release some music this fall and already has a song on YouTube.