Concert on the Pier returns to Lake Tillery

Published 3:33 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

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The Concert on the Pier featuring Austin Coats is back for another show at 7 p.m. Saturday on Lake Tillery, near Goat Island (the last cove before the southern dam on the Stanly County side of the lake).

People can listen to the free concert from their boats, from shore or by watching the live stream on the Stanly County Arts Council’s Facebook page. If interested in shore seating, email Coats to reserve your spot at

Concert on the Pier is the brainchild of Coats. When the pandemic hit, Coats was living in New York City. During the New York shut down, Coats decided to return to Stanly County until Covid restrictions improved. Last fall at the height of the pandemic, Coats determined that performing from a pier for boats or for an audience socially distanced on shore would meet the needs to hear live music while being performed in a safe environment.

Although the weather was chilly on the lake in October, Coats’ performance was hot and raised much needed funds for the local arts community by having donations benefit the Stanly County Arts Council.

Donations will be accepted again on behalf of the Stanly County Arts Council, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit whose mission is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County.

“I’m very grateful to the Arts Council for giving me this space and freedom to perform in a time where my line of work was really gutted,” said Coats. “If you’ve seen one of my shows before, you know my wide-ranging love for almost all music and this show is definitely a representation of that.”

Coats will sing songs representing all the decades of music since the 1950s. The audience will enjoy songs made famous by Otis Redding, Peggy Lee, Cher, Mariah Carey, Linda Ronstadt, Adele, James Taylor, One Republic and more.

“We are so grateful to Austin for coming home and sharing his talents in such a unique and fun environment, especially in a time when we are all in need of the arts,” said Bradley Eudy, chairman of the Stanly County Arts Council.

Eudy will also serve as videographer of the concert.

The arts run in the blood of Coats. Although Coats’ mom is pediatrician Dr. Elaine Coats and his dad is Steve Coats, a retired teacher and principal for Stanly County Schools, they are long supporters of the arts locally and regionally. Steve served as chairman of the Stanly County Arts Council for numerous years. Steve has acted with the Uwharrie Players and both have served on their board. They spend hours volunteering for many arts organizations in the county, including The Talent Company. Austin and his sister Jordi were among the group of teens that founded the local youth theatre organization in 2005. Jordi is pursuing her interests in the arts in New York City, focusing on writing, producing and directing.

At 18, Coats moved to New York City and earned a BFA in Commercial Dance from Pace University. Since then he has performed around the world in more than 50 countries and five continents with various cruise lines as both a lead singer and dancer. He has performed for Tony and Emmy Award winners such as Andy Blankenbuehler and Mandy Moore, and Warren
Carlyle at the Astaire Awards. He has also performed in musical theatre in shows such as “Cats,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia” and “Anything Goes.” His latest work was as the lead singer in the inaugural cast of two shows based in India and Dubai.

Coats is relocating to Nashville to further pursue his musical career. Coats can be found on social media at WAustinCoats and on YouTube:

For the latest information on the arts in Stanly County, visit You may also contact Renee VanHorn, executive director, at

The Stanly County Arts Council was founded in 1974. It continues to promote and support all art forms in the community. Its mission is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County. The Stanly County Arts Council is supported by private donations and by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.