Rocking and Rolling

by Tim Froberg

The Doobie Brothers once urged us to “Listen to the Music.”

Fans of the Heid Music Summer Concert Series are getting an opportunity to do that – without having to turn on their computers.

The Thursday night live concert series – one of the area’s best entertainment bargains – is back to its original format. The Heid series is a late-week summertime staple in downtown Appleton and runs through September 30 at Jones Park.

The free concerts feature local rock, pop, country, and reggae bands and usually draw large crowds. Food and adult beverages are available.

The Heid concerts were livestreamed and offered only on a virtual basis during the summer of 2020 due to the global pandemic. 

“We were able to put the concerts on our Facebook page, but live music is one of those things where it’s just not the same if you’re not there in person,” said Lynn Hardy, marketing director at Appleton Downtown Inc. which oversees the shows. “We’re excited to be back to live music. There are food trucks and vendors. It’s like one big neighborhood block party, where you see your friends and neighbors. That’s the kind of vibe you get.”

The 2021 Heid series had a late start, debuting on July 1, and has a new venue. Past shows were held in Houdini Plaza, but the scene has shifted to renovated Jones Park, which offers more space and allows for better social distancing. Jones had been under construction in previous years but usually hosted at least one show per month.

“There is more space available – more room to spread out,” said Hardy. “We wanted a larger venue, so everyone can feel safer and more comfortable.”

Free masks are available on site and non-vaccinated attendees, staff, volunteers, and vendors are asked to wear them. Social distancing is also encouraged, and hand-sanitizing stations are available throughout the park.

August shows scheduled are Mile of Music artists (Aug. 5), Mistrial (Aug. 12), Vic Ferrari’s Symphony on the Rocks (Aug. 19), and Glam Band (Aug. 26).

September shows kick off with Unity the Band (Sept. 2) followed by Conscious Pilot (Sept. 9), Bazooka Joe (Sept. 16), and String Benders (Sept. 23) before the series concludes on September 30 with an artist yet to be determined.

“It’s just a fun evening to enjoy local bands and celebrate summer in Wisconsin,” said Hardy.

The concerts are presented by US Venture and sponsored by several local businesses. Concerts run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. No dogs are allowed per a City of Appleton ordinance.