Rockford’s popular Tuesday series initially was supposed to start with blues guitarist Jake Kershaw this week, but now won’t return until 2021 due to COVID-19. But Kentwood’s series resumes in mid-July.
UPDATE: Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo announced today that its 2020 Summer Garden Series in its outdoor beer garden has been canceled. “It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to cancel our 2020 Beer Garden concert series this summer,” the brewery announced on Facebook. “Supporting the arts and local music community is something we at Bell’s have been proud of for many years. While we can’t celebrate this summer how we originally planned, we’re just as excited for our 2021 Beer Garden concert series>”
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Rockford has joined several other West Michigan communities in pulling the plug on its free summer concerts.
The popular United Bank Rogue River Blues Series — which takes place annually in Garden Park near the dam in downtown Rockford — officially canceled its summer 2020 shows this week after initially delaying start of the series until July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the City of Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department has pushed the start of its annual summer concert series back to July 16 when Molly will be the featured artist.
In a prepared statement, United Bank and the City of Rockford announced they made “the difficult, yet necessary decision” to cancel the 10-week Tuesday night series “for the safety of the community and performers.”
Before the spring stay-at-home order and other coronavirus restrictions went into effect, the Tuesday concerts were slated to kick off this week with teenage blues star Jake Kershaw, followed by Amanda Fish, James Reeser & The Backseat Drivers and Kathleen & The Bridge Street Band later this month.
July and August would have featured Catfish & The Man, The Fast Hands Band, Tomas Esparza Blues Band, Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps, The 6 Pak and Deep Greens & Blues.
Hosting the 2020 series safely due to the coronavirus “creates challenges in complying with current guidelines intended to provide safe distancing,” the statement continued.
“The decision was not easy (but) we owe it to everyone to keep our community safe,” said Steve Jazwiec, founder and director of the Rockford series. “The blues series concerts have been part of our Rockford community for the past 17 years. This year, we will miss bringing the music to everyone but look forward to next year.”
Esparza said while it’s disappointing his band won’t be able to play the series, “we do need to understand their reasons to which I can see why they made such a choice. The virus is still very much active. How could they enforce social distance in such a large open environment where a large group of folks will gather?”
PARCHMENT, CAMP BLODGETT SHOWS ALSO CANCELED; KENTWOOD PLANS FIVE SHOWS
Many communities across West Michigan previously have scrapped their summer series, including Lowell, Wyoming, South Haven, Kindleberger Summer Concert Series in Parchment, Acoustic Sunset Series at West Olive’s Camp Blodgett and more.
In addition, the West Michigan Jazz Society’s Monday Jazz in the Park series at Walker’s Millennium Park and the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s GRAM on the Green in downtown Grand Rapids have been canceled.
Kentwood, however, has decided to move forward with its free concerts on the lawn behind Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Ave. SE, but not until July. The series initially was supposed to start June 18 with Traverse City’s The Accidentals.
The delayed series will now begin July 16 with Molly, followed on July 23 with Funkle Jesse, July 30 with Crooked Root, Aug. 6 with Brena and Aug. 13 with The Soul Syndicate. A Kentwood official said the city is “still waiting to potentially reschedule The Accidentals show.”
Other weekly community concerts slated to continue include Cutlerville’s Sounds of Summer series that begins with Max Colley III at Cutler Park on July 2 and Hart’s Music on the Commons that kicks off with the Drew Hale Band on June 18.
Get more info about other series online here: Local Spins’ Free Outdoor Community Concerts 2020 listing.
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC