Over 1,000 turn out for first summer concert in 20th anniversary series
Apponagansett Park was full to bursting with concert-goers in collapsible chairs and blankets who came out on Wednesday evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Parks and Recreation Department’s Summer Concert Series.
People came to listen to Bon Jovi tribute band Living on a Bad Name — but there were other draws too. Kids climbed and swung at the playground, people waded in the water and watched the sun set, and everybody lined up at the Bucket in droves for food and ice cream (and the restrooms.)
“It’s really crowded today,” said first-time concert goer Monica Sylvia. “But I’m enjoying myself, the day is beautiful, the music’s good, and [my daughter]’s having fun.”
Young families, older couples, metalheads and leather-clad bikers all gathered together for the event, which this year includes a free raffle and giveaways of free goodies.
Vice Chair of the Board of Parks and Recreation Joe Vieira said, “Every week we’ll try to give something different away. It’s kind of like a thank you for twenty years. It’s a long time for anything to go on.”
During a break in the music, they gave away a Parks and Recreation bag, beverage koozies, and two free season passes to the concerts.
The concert series started in 1999. “It’s a self-funded event — the town doesn’t give it any money. It operates solely off of the sponsorships and the admission fee,” said Parks and Recreation Director Tim Lancaster.
He said that the money goes back into maintaining the park and running the concerts. “It’s grown every year over the last twenty years to this,” he added. “We get 800 - 1200 people a night here, and tonight there’s at least a thousand people here, maybe more.”
Living on a Bad Name lead singer and Dartmouth resident Ken Pittman said, “We were a little concerned about the Bruins being on Game Seven, and I would understand if the attendance was down, but this is a great turnout.”
“I come here when my band’s not playing. It’s such a great series,” he added. “We play these all over the country — and this is one of the most successful ones.”
For the twentieth year, the Parks and Recreation department chose “fan favorites” out of the bands that have played since 1999.
Jen Mullen from Fall River comes to the concerts with her daughters Kaitlyn (4) and Lacey (2) every year.
“I love seeing them, the concert series is very fun. We usually come here a couple of Wednesdays a year,” she said.
The self-professed Bon Jovi fan enjoys the music — as do her daughters. “The playground’s right there, and they can dance and run around,” she laughed, before chasing after Lacey, who was giving high-fives to everyone in the vicinity.
Other concert-goers were also happy with the evening.
“It’s awesome,” said Dartmouth resident Cynthia Vieira, who was attending her first summer concert at the park. “This is a really good turnout. I knew we had a lot of Bon Jovi fans anyway, but it’s really a good turnout.”
The parks and recreation summer concerts cost $5 per person at the gate, although kids 12 and under attend for free. Concerts are every Wednesday evening, or Thursday if it rains, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Next week’s concert will feature the Funky White Honkies.