Concert Series Brings Music Downtown, Cultivates Community
25 Jun 2019
One key element that thriving cities have in common is a vibrant downtown. With the establishment of the River’s Edge Commons Park, Elk River has prioritized making our downtown an attractive setting conducive to community gatherings.
The park features scenic views of the Mississippi River, an amphitheater, splash fountain and picnic gazebo. During the summer, Elk River Parks and Recreation hosts the Riverfront Concert Series in the park each week.
The Bank of Elk River generously sponsors the event, which is free for attendees. “We wouldn’t be able to do the concert series without their financial help,” says Tonya Love, recreation administrative coordinator.
The popular concert series started after the park was dedicated in 2007. The outdoor amphitheater has seating that faces the river so people can revel in the natural beauty of our river city while listening to live music.
“The community looks forward to it every year. It’s a fun event with lots of energy,” says Love.
Parks and Recreation Director Michael Hecker chooses the music for the series, taking some input from the community into consideration. The goal is to bring back popular bands while providing a mix of genres for everyone to enjoy.
The 2019 series opened up with the local high school marching band and then transitioned to a Buddy Holly cover band. The event’s nine-week season will also include ‘80s rock and roll, classic rock, blues bands and more. August 15 will feature a Journey, Styx and REO Speedwagon Tribute complete with a light show. The season will close out on August 22 with Pop Rocks and a dance party rock show.
The unique community event series has been highly successful, both in terms of building community and providing an economic boost. “It brings the community together. It brings people downtown and connects people to the river,” says Love. “It supports the downtown business community as well.”
People can bring lawn chairs and blankets to the family-friendly events as well as a picnic dinner. Love notes that a lot of people order takeout from local restaurants to bring to the shows.
The concerts draw in anywhere from 1500 to 3500 people, depending on the weather and the band. “It’s not just residents that come,” says Love “Some of the bigger bands have followings and their fans come to town too. It brings outside people into the community who spend money here.”
The Riverfront Concert Series happens every Thursday at 7 p.m. through the month of August. In the event of rain, concerts will be held at the Elk River High School Zabee Theater.