Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Downtown welcomes back weekly concerts

June 7, 2007

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A summer tradition returns to downtown Lawrence

The city's annual free Brown Bag Concert Series kicks off for the summer tomorrow in downtown Lawrence. Enlarge video

Concert series lineup

June 14: Lonesome Hobos

June 21: Key West Jazz Quartet

June 28: Two Much Fun

July 5: Borderline Country

July 12: Lonnie Ray Blues Band

July 19: Billy Ebeling and the Late for Dinner Band

July 26: Alfred Packer Memorial String Band

Aug. 8: The Konza Swamp Band

It will be much sweeter music than the sound of a jackhammer.

Despite being surrounded by construction work related to the downtown waterline replacement program, the city's annual Brown Bag Concert Series will kick off today.

The concert series - which has been a Lawrence tradition for more than two decades - will run from noon to 1 p.m. in front of the U.S. Bank Tower building.

That's in the heart of the construction zone where workers are replacing a century-old waterline in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street. But Lawrence Parks and Recreation leaders - who co-sponsor the event with Downtown Lawrence Inc. - said that shouldn't dissuade anyone from coming to listen to the music.

"It looks like it is going to work out fine," said Duane Peterson, special events supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department. "They think they're going to be done with a lot of the loud stuff, so it shouldn't affect the bands."

Downtown merchants will welcome the air being filled with music rather than the sounds of a construction site.

"You just step outside and hear the music and it makes you think that something fun is going on," said Sally Helm, an owner of Brits, a food specialty store at 929 Mass. "I think it definitely adds something to downtown."

Peterson does, too. He said he hopes it is the type of program that Parks and Recreation will be able to continue despite tight budget times. The program costs the city about $2,100 per year, while Downtown Lawrence Inc. also makes a financial contribution.

"We feel like it is a good way to put everybody in a summer mood, a festive mood," Peterson said.

The construction project has closed several parking spaces along Massachusetts Street, but Peterson is urging people to use the city parking garage at Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Parking on the roof level of the garage is free.

The Billy Spears Beer Bellies band will be featured today. Concerts will run every Thursday at noon through Aug. 8.

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