After skipping concerts in 2020, the outdoor amphitheater resumes its main summer series July 18 with Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Grand Rapids Symphony. The full lineup at Local Spins.
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After skipping 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture is set to return with a jam-packed musical schedule starting in mid-July, with its outdoor amphitheater hosting 28 concerts through Sept. 19.
Emmylou Harris, Collective Soul, Harry Connick Jr., Umphrey’s McGee, Trombone Shorty, 38 Special, Old Crow Medicine Show, Squeeze, America, Indigo Girls and Lettuce highlight the 2021 series that kicks off July 18 with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Grand Rapids Symphony.
“Here we go,” said Chris Mautz, the Utah-based promoter who books Meijer Gardens shows. “I’m reinvigorated and excited to get back at it and see people gather again.”
With the state’s recently relaxed restrictions for outdoor shows, Meijer Gardens revamped outdoor amphitheater will be at its full 1,900 capacity, with tickets going on sale to members via Etix.com – a new ticketing partner, after Etix acquired Star Tickets – at 9 a.m. June 26. Public sales begin July 10. This year, there will no on-site ticket sales at Meijer Gardens.
Although this year’s schedule for the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens features several returning acts – including The Verve Pipe, Pink Martini (with Grand Rapids Symphony), The Beach Boys, Ani DiFranco, O.A.R., Pat Benatar, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Old Crow Medicine Show – several acts are playing Meijer Gardens for the first time in 2021.
That roster includes Collective Soul, Shakey Graves, Blues Traveler, 38 Special, Squeeze, Colin Hay (of Men at Work), Black Violin (with Blind Boys of Alabama) and funk-meisters Lettuce, who close out the series on Sept. 19 with opening act Galactic (which played Meijer Gardens with Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 2018).
IN POSITION ‘TO DELIVER SOMETHING REALLY ROBUST’ FOR 2021
Mautz conceded that planning and scheduling this summer’s later-than-usual series “was certainly an adventure” due to uncertainties regarding COVID health restrictions as well as the touring plans of targeted artists.
“None of us has been through anything like this before. It was a process where I kept tabs on my main contacts out there and had ongoing conversations over the course of the year,” he told Local Spins.
“We talked through a bunch of different scenarios … and stayed really engaged through this. (When the time came) it put us in a position to be ready to deliver something really robust.”
That process of “putting all these different pieces together” resulted in a series that’s “a blend of things we’d been wanting to have in 2020 and some old favorites.”
Member ticket prices range from $35 for The Verve Pipe on July 24 and St. Paul & The Broken Bones on Aug. 27 to $100 for Harry Connick Jr. and his band on Aug. 9. (Connick also plays Interlochen Center for the Arts the next day, on Aug. 10.)
The average public ticket price for 2021 is $60.50, a 9.8 percent drop from 2019. In addition to being available online at Etix.com, tickets will be available by phone at 1-800-514-3849.
Intriguing tour stops of note include the U.K.’s Squeeze, led by Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, who first made a splash with their New Wave pop/rock in the 1970s and 1980s; the return of Americana/country legend Emmylou Harris, playing Meijer Gardens for the first time since 2012; and the pairing of hip hop and string sensation Black Violin with revered gospel/blues vocal group The Blind Boys of Alabama.
Mautz called Black Violin’s debut appearance a potentially “spectacular, engaging” concert, and noted that the Emmylou/Los Lobos pairing represents “one of the very few shows” that those acts are playing together this summer.
And for the first time, three shows will feature the Grand Rapids Symphony which performs with Preservation Hall Jazz Band to kick things off on July 18, plays a concert on its own on July 22 and with Pink Martini on July 29.
THE 2021 MEIJER GARDENS SUMMER CONCERT SERIES
July 18 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band with the Grand Rapids Symphony, $73 presale | $76 member | $78 public
July 22 – The Grand Rapids Symphony conducted by Bob Bernhardt, Principal Pops Conductor, $55 presale | $58 member | $60 public
July 24 – The Verve Pipe, $35 presale | $38 member | $40 public
July 25 – Collective Soul, $58 presale | $61 member | $63 public
July 26 – The Beach Boys, $68 presale | $71 member | $73 public
July 29 – Pink Martini (featuring China Forbes) with the Grand Rapids Symphony, $69 presale | $72 member | $74 public
Aug. 5 – Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange), $38 presale | $41 member | $43 public
Aug. 6 – Kansas, $65 presale | $68 member | $70 public
Aug. 8 – Emmylou Harris and Los Lobos, $75 presale | $78 member | $80 public
Aug. 9 – Harry Connick Jr. and His Band, $100 presale | $103 member | $105 public
Aug. 11 – America, $62 presale | $65 member | $67 public
Aug. 12 – Umphrey’s McGee, $44 presale | $47 member | $49 public
Aug. 13 – Mat Kearney, $48 presale | $51 member | $53 public
Aug. 16 – Shakey Graves, $37 presale | $40 member | $42 public
Aug. 18 – Blues Traveler and JJ Grey & Mofro, $57 presale | $60 member | $62 public
Aug. 19 – 38 Special, $53 presale | $56 member | $58 public
Aug. 22 – Squeeze, $55 presale | $58 member | $60 public
Aug. 23 – Ani DiFranco, $48 presale | $51 member | $53 public
Aug. 26 – Colin Hay of Men at Work, $45 presale | $48 member | $50 public
Aug. 27 – St. Paul & The Broken Bones, $35 presale | $38 member | $40 public
Aug. 29 – Old Crow Medicine Show, $49 presale | $52 member | $54 public
Sept. 1 – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, $52 presale | $55 member | $57 public
Sept. 2 – Indigo Girls, $56 presale | $59 member | $61 public
Sept. 9 – O.A.R., $75 presale | $78 member | $80 public
Sept. 12 – Black Violin and Blind Boys of Alabama, $50 presale | $53 member | $55 public
Sept. 15 – Toad the Wet Sprocket, $42 presale | $45 member | $47 public
Sept. 15 – Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, $65 presale | $68 member | $70 public
Sept. 19 – Lettuce and Galactic (featuring Anjelika ‘Jelly’ Joseph), $45 presale | $48 member | $50 public
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