Band Shell Series begins Wednesday

The City of Big Rapids 2015 Band Shell Summer Concert Series starts Wednesday at 7 p.m. The concert is free and will feature live music and a hot dog vendor.

The City of Big Rapids 2015 Band Shell Summer Concert Series starts Wednesday at 7 p.m. The concert is free and will feature live music and a hot dog vendor.

BIG RAPIDS — Break out your dancing shoes and the big picnic basket. The Big Rapids 2015 Band Shell Summer Concert Series starts Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Band Shell Concert Series, now in its ninth year of operation, will open with a performance by the Ferris Community Summer Band. Scott Cohen, Director of the summer band, is excited to be opening the Band Shell series with one of the largest summer bands yet.

“This year, we have a record turnout of musicians in the band. We had over 50 at our first rehearsal,” Cohen said. “We’ve probably got at least 25 people that this is the first time they’ve ever played with our band. “

The concert, and the rest of the concert series performances, start at 7 p.m. at the Band Shell and go until around 9 p.m. there is no admission fee.

The Band Shell concert series is presented by the Big Rapids Department of Parks and Recreation. Director Heather Bowman is working to make sure that this year’s series continues and improves on the tradition. Among the additions to the series are a new dining option and some added fun for the younger patrons.

“New this year, we will have a hot dog vendor on-site,” she said. “The concerts begin at 7 p.m., sometimes that’s around people’s dinner time. We wanted to provide them an opportunity to get food and drink if they want it. “

For those attending who do not prefer hot dogs, bringing a picnic meal and drinks is allowed in the public park. Bowman also recommends bringing along a blanket or chairs to sit on the grass.

When Bowman and Neighbor Services Coordinator Cindy Plautz took over responsibility for the concert series last year they added a headliner to cap the series, this year they are keeping up that trend and adding a twist to give the series a good sendoff.

“So this year’s headline band is going to be The Blues Brothers & Quentin Flagg,” Bowman said. “We decided it would be fun this year to have a family event to end the series, get the kids engaged with coming out, so there will be a magician and a clown performing. We want to keep people in the parks all summer.”

The Band Shell series tries to bring a wide selection of musicians to Big Rapids to cater to the varying tastes of residents.

“Since the first concert series in 2006,” said Plautz, in an email. “Our desire has been to provide a variety of music to please the diverse taste of our community.”

The Band Shell was constructed after a committee formed in 2005 to celebrate Big Rapids’ 150-year anniversary. The Shell was funded by $145,000 in community donations, and the series is funded in part by the Department of Parks and Recreation with significant contributions from sponsors and from the community at large.

Bowman commended the committee’s efforts and community members who made the band shell a reality.

“They did great at making sure that there was a low-maintenance facility to have events at. It’s hard to keep it empty during the summer time,” she said. “The community works so hard to make sure that a structure is available and to keep the community lively during the summer and the fall. We want to make sure that people stay in their community and have fun things to do.”

The City Of Big Rapids

2015 Band Shell Summer Concert Series

Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. Free

  • June 24  The Ferris Community Summer Band
  • July 1  The Ferris Community Summer Band
  • July 8  The Ferris Community Summer Band
  • July 15  Ed Mallett & Friends
  • July 22  Free Wheelin’
  • July 29  The Turnips
  • August 5 The Flat River Big Band
  • August 12  The Blues Brothers & Quentin Flagg
  • August 19  Gordon the Magician & Rosco the Clown



Posted by Adam Gac

Adam is the Pioneer City/County Reporter, covering government in Mecosta County. He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (231) 592-8347.

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