Although Meijer Gardens had hoped to host a limited series of outdoor concerts featuring regional acts later this summer, coronavirus concerns ultimately forced cancellation of all amphitheater shows.
One of West Michigan’s most popular outdoor amphitheaters will be silent all summer.
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Nearly two months after scrapping the main 2020 concert series due to COVID-19, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park today officially canceled the annual Tuesday Evening Music Club series which showcases local and regional acts.
Although Meijer Gardens administrators initially held out hope they could host a limited number of concerts as part of a “modified” Tuesday Evening Music Club in late summer, today’s announcement put an end to those prospects.
Citing the safety of visitors, staff, volunteers and performers as a “top priority,” Meijer Gardens President and CEO David Hooker said in a prepared statement that officials are “deeply disappointed to have to cancel this popular series due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“We had hoped to be able to present a modified series later this summer and fall, but due to the ongoing situation, we have concluded that this is not possible in 2020.”
Instead, he added, Meijer Gardens looks forward to “a summer full of live music” in 2021 as part of the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts and Tuesday Evening Music Club series.
POP-UP CHAMBER MUSIC SHOWS ON THE PIAZZA
Meijer Gardens is hosting a few “Sunday Strings” pop-up shows this summer featuring chamber music led by Grand Rapids Symphony violinist Haijin Choi. Upcoming small ensemble performances will take place at 2 p.m. Aug. 9 and Sept. 13 in the DeVos Van Andel Piazza near “The American Horse.” The concerts are included in the admission price.
With free admission for Meijer Gardens members — and just the cost of regular gardens admission for other attendees — the Tuesday Evening Music Club shows hosted for more than a decade by Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles typically attract huge crowds to the 1,900-capacity amphitheater on Tuesday nights in July and August.
John VanderHaagen, Meijer Gardens’ director of communications, said while officials “considered a variety of options” to move forward with the series, Michigan regulations currently limiting outdoor gatherings to 100 people made that impossible.
“The cost of building a stage and bringing in production for a parking lot (drive-in) show didn’t make sense,” he added, “and it would be hard to make the numbers work at anything less than half the capacity in the amphitheater.”
In May, following on the heels of numerous music festival and concert cancellations across Michigan, Meijer Gardens pulled the plug on its main, 30-show summer series which had already announced dates for tour stops by Squeeze, Michael Franti, Gregory Alan Isakov and the Australian Pink Floyd Show.
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