While summer doesn’t officially start until June 20, we’re already seeing one of Greater Lansing’s telltale signs of summer: lawn chair-toting families emerging from their winter hibernation in search of outdoor music.
Fortunately, Greater Lansing is teeming with outdoor music options. The season kicked off last week with a performance by Global Village at Grand Ledge’s Music in the Park. The series continues Thursday with an appearance by Motown Eagles, a Detroit-based Eagles tribute band. Also on Thursday, down in Mason, the Thursday Night Live! concert series hosts the Mason Orchestral Society. The cities of Lansing, East Lansing and St. Johns also start their summer concert series this month.
Lansing’s summer concerts feature a variety of local acts, each performing in a different city park. A special July 4 program features fireworks and patriotic music from the Lansing Concert Band. East Lansing’s series begins on June 24 with popular ‘80s cover band Starfarm. Also on the docket are local favorites like Root Doctor, Deacon Earl and Sea Cruisers.
"The city likes to help create that sense of place and feeling of community with the residents. Offering downtown events is a way to get people to meet their neighbors and come downtown to see local businesses,” said Heather Surface, community events specialist for the City of East Lansing. “It encourages people to enjoy their town. We're closing down a street in hopes that a lot of people will show up.”
Also hoping to cash in on the intersection of live music and commerce are Eastwood Towne Center and the Lansing City Market. Eastwood Towne Center’s summer music lineup begins Tuesday with a performance by the Sea Cruisers.
Lansing City Market, which started its concert series last year, is more than doubling the number of performances this year. In its first year, Jazz on the Grand featured three evenings of live music. This year, the blown-out Grand Concert Series comprises four Jazz on the Grand concerts and four Blues on the Grand concerts. MSU’s Professors of Jazz and Phil Denny return from last year’s jazz series, while the blues series brings in artists like Twyla Birdsong, Thornetta Davis and Frog & the Beeftones.
For cities on the fringes of Greater Lansing, like St. Johns and Mason, these outdoor concerts have an added bonus. Free, family-friendly events can draw people from rural areas into the cities, or they can pull in new visitors from other cities.
"I think that it gives everybody a good excuse to come out, and it helps promote local businesses because it brings people in from out of town," said Aleasha Wood, program assistant of Mason Thursday Night Live! Courthouse Concerts.
Summer concert series calendar
All concerts are FREE. Attendees should bring lawn chairs, blankets and/or snacks. No alcohol is permitted in city parks.
East Lansing Summer Concert Series
All concerts start at 7 p.m.
Ann Street Plaza, corner of Albert and M.A.C. avenues, East Lansing.
(517) 319-6888, cityofeastlansing.com/ summerconcertseries.
June 24: Starfarm
June 25: Alex Mendenall
July 8: Sea Cruisers
July 9: Gemini
July 15: Heartland Klezmorim
July 16: Kathleen and the Bridge Street Band
July 22: Root Doctor
July 23: Dominic and Rachael Davis
July 29: Xavier's Jazz Trio
July 30: Dragspel
Aug. 5: Deacon Earl
Aug. 6: Gifts or Creatures and May Erlewine
Grand Ledge Music in the Park
All concerts 7-9 p.m.
Bridge Street Plaza, 213 Bridge St., Grand Ledge.
(517) 627-2383, grandledgechamber.com.
June 2: Global Village
June 9: Motown Eagles
June 16: Brian Lorente and the Usual Suspects
June 23: Toppermost
June 30: Life Support
July 7: Grand Ledge Bums and Exit 86
July 14: Root Doctor J
uly 21: Taylor Taylor
July 28: Delilah DeWylde
Aug. 4: The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle
Aug. 11: Showdown
Aug. 18: Donny Brown
Aug. 25: Three Men and a Tenor
Eastwood Towne Center Summer Music Series
All concerts 6-8 p.m. except where noted.
Center Court, Eastwood Towne Center, 3003 Preyde Blvd., Lansing.
(517) 316-9209, shopeastwoodtownecenter.com/ events.
June 14: Sea Cruisers
June 21: Brenda Loomis
June 28: Kids’ Night with Tim the Music Man (5 p.m.-7 p.m.)
July 12: Showdown
July 19: Layers
July 26: Root Doctor
Aug. 2: Smooth Daddy
Aug. 9: Don Middlebrook and the Pearl Divers
Aug. 16: Natchez Trace
Aug. 23: Life Support
Lansing Concerts in the Park
All concerts 7-9 p.m.
Each concert is in a different city park.
(517) 483-4277, lansingmi.gov/concerts_in_the_park
June 22: The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle at Moores Park, 400 Moores River Drive, Lansing
June 29: Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys at Turner-Dodge House, 100 E. North St., Lansing.
July 4: Fourth of July fireworks and Lansing Concert Band at Adado Riverfront Park, 210 E. Shiawassee St., Lansing.
July 13: Deacon Earl and the Congregation at Fenner Nature Center, 2020 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing.
July 20: Full House at St. Joseph Park, 2125 W. Hillsdale St., Lansing.
July 27: Tejano Funk at Frances Park, 2701 Moores River Drive, Lansing.
Aug. 3: Toppermost at Sycamore Park, 1415 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing.
Grand Concert Series at Lansing City Market
All concerts start at 6 p.m.
Lansing City Market, 325. City Market Drive, Lansing.
(517) 483-7460 ext. 234. lansingcitymarket.com/events/grandconcert-series
Jazz on the Grand
June 15: MSU Professors of Jazz and MSU Community Music School
July 27: Medium Rare and East Lansing High School Jazz Band
Aug. 24: Orrick Ewing and Lansing Community College Jazz Band
September 14: Phil Denny (and friends) and Lansing School District Choral Group
Blues on the Grand
June 16: Twyla Birdsong Band and Lansing School District Band Group
July 28: Thornetta Davis and DeWitt Junior High Jazz Band
Aug. 25: David Gerald
September 15: Frog & the Beeftones
Mason Thursday Night Live!
All concerts start at 6 p.m.
Ingham County Courthouse lawn, 315 S. Jefferson St., Mason.
(517) 676-1046, masonchamber.org.
June 9: Mason Orchestral Society
June 23: From Big Sur
July 7: Life Support
July 21: Sea Cruisers
Aug. 11: Backwoods Band
Aug. 25: Twilight Memories Big Band
September 15: Mason High School Band
St. Johns Concerts in the Park
June 15: Sea Cruisers
June 22: The Louis Longoria Band
June 29: Mountain Town Singers
July 6: Blue Water Ramblers
July 13: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
July 20: Mid-Michigan Festival Orchestra
July 27: My Sweet Patootie
Aug. 3: Motown Eagles
Aug. 10: Monday’s Supper
Aug. 17: Toppermost
Aug. 24: Capital City Brass Band
Aug. 31: Elvis impersonator Matt King