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Champaign County parks will become summer concert venues beginning this weekend.
The 24th annual Concerts in the Park series, presented by the Champaign County Arts Council, returns Saturday, June 25, with the Pam Noah Swing Band at 7 p.m. in Urbana’s Melvin Miller Park.
The series will present six concerts at various locations in the county through late August. The concerts are free and attendees can bring their own lawn chairs or blankets for seating.
“We always try to present a variety of music,” said Heather Brackney, Arts Council executive director. “We also try to bring back old favorites and new music to appeal to a wide range of interests and demographics.”
The Pam Noah Swing Band is making its series debut and is led by vocalist Noah of Cincinnati and her nine-piece band.
Series fixture rock and roll oldies favorite Phil Dirt and the Dozers return for its third consecutive Fourth of July show at 7 p.m. at Grimes Field.
“We’re always happy to have them back,” Brackney said. The show is part of a larger holiday celebration including a barbecue, car show and fireworks.
Also in Melvin Miller Park at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10, is The Coteries. This three-person East Coast folk and rock band is another series newcomer that is newly formed and is releasing its first album this summer.
Area favorite Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band returns to the annual Art Affair on the Square event at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 16 in downtown Urbana. Brackney said it’s a case of celebrating local art and artists of different types.
For August, the series will shift to Harmon Park in St. Paris. Local resident John Wright will lead his group, The Average Wright Band, through blues, rock and oldies in their series debut at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.
Columbus-based Trombones Plus will round out the series at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. This group is made up of former Ohio State University marching band members and has performed all over the area.
In case of bad weather, the Melvin Miller Park concerts will move indoors to Urbana University, the Grimes Field show to the Urbana Airport Hangar and the Harmon Park shows to St. Paris United Methodist Church.
Concession stands will be set up at each concert. Attendees can also bring their own food and soft drinks, but alcohol is discouraged.
Brackney said as the series looks forward to its landmark 25th season in 2017 it would like to expand even further to include Mechanicsburg.