With the revamped amphitheater reopening June 4 with a Tuesday Evening Music Club “dress rehearsal,” RSVP Music Chat had a revealing interview with two key managers overseeing Meijer Gardens concerts.
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With Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in the midst of more than $100 million in major renovations and expansion, the popular Grand Rapids destination is literally a beehive of activity these days.
Much of that involves the revamping of its outdoor amphitheater – with a dramatic new entry plaza and sprawling concessions building – for another season of 30 concerts by national touring acts as well as the uber-popular Tuesday Evening Music Club series starring Michigan artists.
The first 2019 concert takes place June 4 – a special Tuesday Evening Music Club show featuring May Erlewine & The Motivations that will serve as a “dress rehearsal” for the renovated amphitheater and new concessions.
So, RSVP Music Chat’s John Sinkevics and Ralston Bowles sat down with two key players overseeing amphitheater concerts: Ted Bufkin, Meijer Gardens’ guest services assistant manager, and John VanderHaagen, director of communications.
The interview/podcast was a revealing one, providing behind-the-scenes insights into not only the way regional acts are chosen for the Tuesday Evening Music Club series, but the mission and philosophy behind the amphitheater operation and expansion.
Listen to the full podcast here, with some highlights bullited below.
PODCAST: RSVP Music Chat with Ted Bufkin and John VanderHaagen @ Meijer Gardens
Some nuggets from the interview:
• The Tuesday Evening Music Club series likely draws the oldest and youngest audiences of any venue in the region with a goal of offering “something that appeals to everyone” every summer;
• Meijer Gardens is “inundated with submissions” every year from bands and solo artists for this local and regional music series. And that means bands must be professional in their approach and put their best foot forward with links to their music and videos of live performances;
• The Tuesday series has been willing to take risks with new acts and genres every season. The 2019 Tuesday series even includes a first-time-ever evening with the Grand Rapids Ballet. “Whatever we throw at them, they love it,” Bufkin said of Tuesday Evening Music Club fans.
See the full schedule and more details about this year’s Tuesday Evening Music Club Series: https://localspins.com/meijer-gardens-tuesday-evening-music-club-2019-lineup-to-boast-kickoff-show-by-may-erlewine-plus-august-ballet/
Admission to Tuesday Evening Music Club concerts is free to Meijer Gardens members, with others paying just the regular admission fee ($14.50 adults).
So far, 13 of the 30 concerts in the main Meijer Gardens summer series have sold out. Check out the complete 2019 schedule for the main series: https://localspins.com/meijer-gardens-2019-to-star-sarah-mclachlan-dawes-iron-wine-stray-cats-buddy-guy/And get tickets online at meijergardens.org.
Take a video and photo tour of the renovated amphitheater in this Local Spins feature: https://localspins.com/meijer-gardens-amphitheater-sports-expanded-concessions-improved-acoustics-for-2019/
Miss the last episode? Check out the RSVP Music Chat with Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington on May 9. And if you have a comment or a suggestion for a future podcast, leave a SpeakPipe voice message for us below. (RSVP Music Chats are posted at Local Spins twice a month, on Thursdays.)
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