BLOOMINGTON — It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature … but it is OK to work out a compromise.
That’s what the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is hoping this summer in terms of its trademark outdoor concert offerings — the Music Under the Stars series on the Miller Park Bandstand, premiering Sunday night, and the Lunchtime Concerts in downtown Withers Park, starting June 5.
The fool-free compromise involves dealing with Mother Nature on her own sultry terms.
Hence: more Music Under the Stars and fewer Lunchtime Concerts, says Barb Wells, superintendent of recreation.
The noon-hour Wednesday concerts, formerly staged on the downtown square and running from May through August, are being reduced to June only in Withers Park, where the series was moved several summers ago by construction on the square.
The decision to remain there, post-construction, was made by popular demand.
“We took a survey and the majority of the responses said to keep the concerts at Withers, because there were more tables and shade,” says Wells.
But the move didn’t resolve all the issues.
“When it gets really hot, like it did last summer, sometimes there were only around 25 people showing up,” Wells says. “I really feel bad for the people playing. And we’re paying them to play for just a few people.”
The solution: Restrict the lunch concerts to the least heat-prone month, then make up the difference with a new series at a more comfortable time.
Hence, the debut at 6:30 p.m. Sunday of a second Music Under the Stars night on the Miller Park Bandstand, in addition to the long-running Tuesday night edition, which starts at 7:30 p.m. and debuts June 11.
Another first this year, notes Wells, is a special guest performance by an out-of-state group, the Spring Hill Singers from Alabama, on June 23.
As far as Bloomington’s other major park-based music attraction, the Community Concert Band at Franklin Park, it will be business as usual: ice cream socials at 6 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday in mid-June through July.
In Normal, the 5-year-old Connie Link Amphitheater is ground zero for the Normal Parks and Recreation Department’s free music activity, with concert offerings already under way and scheduled through September.
Following are the lineups for each series:
-- Sunday Music Under the Stars, 6:30 p.m., Miller Park: Marc Boon & The Oh Solo Trio, May 26; New & Slightly Used, June 16; Spring Hill Singers, June 23; Marc Boon & The Uptown Legends, July 21; Cattle Bandits, Aug. 11; Denise La Grassa Quartet, Aug. 25.
-- Tuesday Music Under the Stars, 7:30 p.m., Miller Park: Kevin Hart & The Vibe Tribe, June 11; Heartland Jazz Orchestra, June 25; Brass Band of Central Illinois, July 9; Biscuits-n-Gravy Band, July 16; Brian Choban Jazz Quintet, Aug. 6; Jim Markum Swing Band, Aug. 20.
-- Lunchtime Concerts, 11:30 a.m., Withers Park: Patrick Campbell, June 5; Surf Riders, June 12; The Aristocrats, June 19; Prairieland Dixie Band, June 26.
-- Community Concert Band, 7 p.m., Franklin Park: June 13, 20 and 27; and July 11, 18 and 25 (ice cream socials at 6 p.m.).
-- Connie Link Amphitheater, various times: Dangerous Gentlemen, 6:30 p.m. May 31; Denise La Grassa, 4 p.m. June 2; Adam Larson & Noise Complaint, 6 p.m. June 6; Jim Markum Swing Band, 4 p.m. June 9; Midnight Crisis, 5:30 p.m. June 27; Brian Choban Jazz Quintet, 6:30 p.m. June 29; Biscuits-n-Gravy Band, 4 p.m. June 30; Kevin Hart & The Vibe Tribe, 4 p.m. July 14; Heartland Jazz Orchestra, 4 p.m. Aug. 4; New & Slightly Used, 4 p.m. Aug. 11; Brass Band of Illinois, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 15; Afternoon Extravaganza with Wagon Load of Trouble, Tin Flask Band, David Berchtold and Bones Bach, 2 p.m. Aug. 17; Sugar Creek Cloggers, 6 p.m. Aug. 22; Prairieland Dixie Band, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24; Turas, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5; Cattle Bandits, 4 p.m. Sept. 8; Blurklezurps, 8 p.m. Sept. 14; One Day Closer, 6 p.m. Sept. 21; Marc Boon & The Uptown Legends, 4 p.m. Sept. 22.