Sure, Bellingham is extraordinarily beautiful during the summer, as we all know. But the season can also be a shy one, meaning occasionally we have to do a little coaxing if we’d like it to show up and stay awhile.
In other words, when it comes to the arrival of days of endless sun, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it.
Toward that end, Bellingham Parks and Recreation’s summer concerts in the parks series kicks off this week—before the official calendar start of summer, and, according to the forecast, before the weather has seen fit to cooperate.
No matter. Forecasts and calendars aside, when free, al fresco entertainment comes calling, we are only too happy to heed its siren song.
This year’s jam-packed roster of shows is spread out over four scenic locales—three familiar spots and one that is new to the list. First up is the start of the ever-popular Boulevard Park concert series, which gets underway Sat., June 16 with the lively New Orleans-inspired music of Tubaluba, and recurs every two weeks with such bands as the True Spokes (July 14) and Picoso (July 28) before wrapping up Aug. 11 with Cody Beebe and the Crooks. If watching accomplished bands play in a stunning natural setting is your thing, this is most definitely the concert series for you.
Not to be outdone—both when it comes to its scenic locale and pre-start-of-summer kickoff—are concerts at Big Rock Garden Park, which is nestled in the lush woods above Lake Whatcom. A little more quiet and contemplative than its Parks and Rec concert counterparts, this series is made for wiling away Sunday afternoons listening to the likes of the Thomas Harris Trio (June 17), Bar Tabac (July 15), and Tocato Tango (Aug. 19) while sussing out the Big Rock Garden sculpture park.
New to the Parks and Rec outdoor concert series this year are shows that will take place Sundays at Woodstock Farm, which is located a short jaunt down Chuckanut Drive. Upon arrival, lucky concertgoers will be greeted by a site both historic and beautiful. Add to that music from Ranger and the Re-Arrangers (July 1), Hejira (Aug. 5), and the Bryan Forsloff Group (Sept. 9), and this is a series you should consider planning your lazy summer Sundays around. It’s worth keeping in mind that the more popular the concerts are, the more encouraged Bellingham Parks and Rec will be to continue devoting their many natural resources to the aural entertainment of all of us.
Of course, no conversation about the Parks and Rec series would be complete without addressing the Thursday concerts at Elizabeth Park. As I’ve said in the past, this is the portion of the Parks concerts that holds an especially dear place in my fickle heart, owing to the fact that I lived down the street from the Columbia Neighborhood park for three years, allowing me to stop and take in the shows during my evening walk home from work, which would then be followed by a sojourn on my front porch, where I would wind down from my day as the strains of the songs floated on the evening air. Yes, it really was just as idyllic as it sounds. Luckily, you don’t have to be a Columbia Neighborhood resident to enjoy the spoils of this series. Anyone can show up, pull up a patch of grass and own a piece of prime entertainment real estate for the evening. On hand to entertain you during this series—which takes place every Thursday from June 28-July 5—will be the Witherow and Gibson Band (June 28), Lindsay Street (July 19), What the Chelm (Aug. 2), BandZandt (Aug. 16), and more.
As always, the concerts are free and family friendly. They do tend to get crowded, so showing up early is advised. As well, in most locations, parking is limited (I can attest to that, having arrived at my former residence on Utter Street only to find strange cars parked in my carport during Elizabeth Park concert nights), so alternative transportation isn’t only smart and eco-friendly, but it’s also a necessity.
So, show up if you love Bellingham’s various parks. Or come if you happen to love music, and you especially favor the way it sounds when it’s free. And, if you’d like to do your part to coax the summer weather out of hiding, your attendance is advised. Consider it your civic duty.
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