The Sounds of Summer
by Ruth Heil
There is something delightful about listening to live music out in the open air. The melodies are carried in the breeze while the rhythms bounce off the landscape. Public parks and the like provide a nice alternative to the typical, highly promoted venues wherein you are often stuffed into an assigned seat, trapped inside an arena or annoyed by parking fees, ticket fees and overpriced concessions.
There are many community concerts, in a variety of genres, scheduled throughout the Lehigh Valley this summer. Stretch your legs, come and go as you please and enjoy old-fashioned snacks while in the company of your neighbors, family and friends.
Bringing community together to enjoy such simple entertainment is the primary goal of these events. They are usually organized as a series, always free of charge and consistently enjoyed by young children, young-at-heart seniors and everyone in between.
Here is some of what is planned for 2014:
Dancing Under the Stars
Held at Cedar Beach, Allentown, these Friday concerts start at 8 p.m., when the sun goes down and the stars become the light show. Come hear the Royalaires play music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s on June 6, June 20, July 25, August 8, August 22 and August 29.
Additional summer concerts are held throughout the Allentown Park system, including events at the West Park Band Shell, Arts Park and more. For information, download the Adventure Allentown recreation directory by clicking the icon at allentown.gov.
Summer Music Series
Although this is a commercial venue, the four shows at the Summer Lounge at the Outdoor Shops at Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall are still designed to be fun. Events will be held every Saturday in June from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The stage will be located between the Barnes & Noble and LOFT stores. Find out more at facebook.com/lehighvalleyshop.
Sounds of Summer
The Parks and Recreation department will put its amphitheater at the Forks Township Community Park to use for six free concerts. Each is held on a Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with a rain date as the next day. Included in the schedule are country, doo-wop, zydeco, rock-n-roll, blues and more. The dates are June 25, July 2, July 9, July 23, August 13 and August 20. Visit the recreation events page at forkstownship.org for more.
Tunes at Twilight
The Downtown Bethlehem Association leads this eight-week, family-friendly event. Concerts are held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Sun Inn courtyard on Main Street every Thursday until July 10. Food will be available for purchase from several nearby restaurants as well as from the Sun Inn Preservation Association; attendees may also bring their own. Unlike typical community concerts, wine and beer will be available for sale at the “Tunes Bar.” Access the events page at downtownbethlehemassociation.com to learn about this and other city events.
Summer Concert Series at Levitt Pavilion
The ArtsQuest organization retains its mission of increasing access to the arts by once again offering a packed schedule on the SteelStacks campus in Bethlehem. The summer series is in addition to other year-round offerings, including concerts at the TD Community Stage, a free movie series at the Pavilion and the ever popular, citywide Musikfest event. Visit artsquest.org for the full lineup.
Borough officials have set the dates for three concerts (June 8, July 13 and August 17) at the Dimmick Park Performance Stage in Hellertown. Tune in to the parks page at hellertownborough.org.
Sundays in the Park
Emmaus officials have been offering its community members free entertainment for more than 30 years. Today, however, the Special Entertainment Commission has ventured from the traditional concert-band-style shows to include a variety that will appeal to the entire family. Held every Sunday until September, concerts run from 6 to 8 p.m., although some kid-focused shows start a little earlier. Held rain or shine, attendees can sit under the same pavilion as the band, or they can spread out around the park and enjoy the music from the sound system. Visit emmausent.com.
Paulette Labenberg chairs the committee that organizes the Emmaus event. When asked why she participates, she answered, “I do it personally because I love our community, and I want to see our parks used. Bringing [residents] together on a regular basis is important. Plus, people really enjoy it.” That is what truly makes listening to a live musical performance from the viewpoint of a blanket in the park so special.
What to Bring
(depending on location)
Something to sit on. A blanket or low-backed chair is best if you want to sit close to the stage without blocking anyone’s view.
Snacks, beverages or even an entire picnic. Remember that alcohol is restricted at most public facilities
Camera. Capture photos of those outbursts of joy and fun; upload them to Snapshot and we’ll feature them in our magazine.
Frisbee. Bring along something fun to do during breaks and intermissions.
Flashlights. Light up the night when the concert ends after dark.
Moist toilettes. It’s always a good idea to clean hands after using the restroom or port-o-let.
What to Leave at Home
Electronics. To truly take advantage of the live setting and face-to-face time with your family, friends and neighbors, leave the tablets at home.
Alcohol. Most public facilities restrict it.
Pets. Use your judgment when bringing Fido to dog-friendly venues. The activity at these events can overwhelm pets, and aggressive dogs or ones known to bark often should always be left at home.