Outdoor concert series to return to Woonsocket this summer

Outdoor concert series to return to Woonsocket this summer

Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience appear at the Levitt AMP summer music series in 2019. Organizers say the outdoor concert series will return, with some changes, to River Island Art Park this year. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)

WOONSOCKET – After a year on hiatus due to the pandemic, the Levitt AMP summer concert series is set to return to River Island Art Park this summer.

Meghan Rego, director of resource development and communications for NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, said the 10-week concert series is scheduled to begin on Friday, July 9, and continue through Friday, Sept. 17, with the exception of Labor Day weekend. As in past years, the series will be free, and attendees are invited to bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy the event.

“This will be something that occurs outside in a safe environment. I want (readers) to tell their family and friends and get ready with their blankets and their beach chairs,” she told The Breeze last week.

The series first came to the city in 2018 when the organization won a $25,000 grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. It continued in 2019 and was set to happen again last year when the pandemic put those plans on hold.

While the outdoor, free music will resume again this summer, Rego said families can expect some differences in the form of COVID-19 safety measures.

“We’re really waiting to see what the state guidelines will look like. We have about two more months before we have to make some of these decisions,” she said.

To start with, she said, attendees can likely expect to wear masks and see reminders about social distancing around food trucks and other waiting areas. They’ll also have to get creative with some of the family activities that were a hit in past years, she said.

What they’re not expecting to do at this time, she said, is require guests to pre-register.

“It is a really big park, so we anticipate that you can get 1,000 people in there, put a six foot bubble around every person, and still have some room to spare,” she said.

The organization hosted a smaller, socially distanced concert series on the patio of the Millrace Kitchen last fall, which Rego said gave them an opportunity to test out their safety protocols. This year’s series will start later than in past years in the hope that more people are vaccinated by then, she said.

For the music, Rego said they’re still working on the lineup but are hoping to rebook many of the same artists who were scheduled to play in 2020. Those include a Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band, a French-Canadian folk act and a Brazilian hip hop group along with rock and salsa bands.

“It’s going to be very diverse and very exciting,” she said.

To add to the excitement, Rego said the Levitt Foundation has already guaranteed funding for the concert series through summer 2022, so residents have at least two more summers of free music to look forward to.

“To be able to brings hundreds of people together in a safe and enjoyable way really feels like we’re fulfilling our mission,” she said.