After a long hiatus, Meijer Gardens plans to host national acts (such as Kansas and Black Violin), the Tuesday Evening Music Club and Grand Rapids Symphony this summer, all while monitoring COVID rules.
Summer concerts at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park are back.
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After a silent summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meijer Gardens today announced the resumption of outdoor live music starting in July, with three different series of shows:
National touring acts and the Grand Rapids Symphony in the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts series, local artists performing for Tuesday Evening Music Club and “Sunday Strings” sessions held throughout the gardens.
O.A.R., Kansas, The Verve Pipe, St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Black Violin with the Blind Boys of Alabama are all on the docket for the national series which kicks off July 1, with specific show dates, more artists and the on-sale date for tickets still to be announced.
Meijer Gardens stressed that “all dates, performers and information are subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions,” which currently limit capacity to 1,000 attendees in the 1,900-seat outdoor amphitheater.
“Things are shifting so much that we are only announcing a few acts at this point — no dates,” said John VanderHaagen, Meijer Gardens’ director of communications, noting the goal is to host 30 concerts in the series just as in years past.
“We’ll know more regarding on-sale dates once there is updated guidance (about) regulations for outdoor events. Current restrictions are set to expire on May 24, but as we’ve learned over the past year, things are changing week to week and sometimes day to day.”
Although specific dates for the national series haven’t been finalized, the popular Tuesday Evening Music Club series hosted by Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles will return in July, starting with a “Welcome Back” show featuring Bowles and some special guests. Nine Tuesday shows featuring everything from pop and rock to world music are scheduled; these concerts are free to Meijer Gardens members or with payment of the usual Meijer Gardens admission fee.
Meijer Gardens’ summer lineup also features the return of the Grand Rapids Symphony to the amphitheater stage, with three concerts on tap: a symphony performance led by principal pops conductor Bob Bernhardt, the Grand Rapids Symphony with Pink Martini and “another special show” still to be announced. Symphony President and CEO Mary Tuuk Kuras called the special concerts part of “our shared mission of promoting the arts and bringing our community together.”
While officials are hoping restrictions will be lifted to allow more than 1,000 attendees in the amphitheater by July, VanderHaagen stressed that Meijer Gardens “will follow all current regulations, including limiting capacity and requiring six feet of physical distancing between groups. Masks may also be required when not eating or drinking.”
In a prepared statement, David Hooker, Meijer Gardens’ president and CEO, credited the “generous support” of sponsors, volunteers and members for paving the way for this summer’s concerts and “ensuring a rewarding and meaningful experience.”
The last Meijer Gardens concert took place on Sept. 18, 2019, when Calexico and Iron & Wine graced the amphitheater stage.
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