Elizabeth Park Concert Series

Our virtual summer

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

When the COVID shutdown began to take down all of our favorite summer events, one by one, like everyone else, I went through the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—with what felt like every cancellation.

I’d say it was like being on a constant roller coaster except that only makes me long for the Northwest Washington Fair, and there will be no fair this year.

Back to the point at hand.

It’s not exactly accurate to say that I mourned the loss of all the events. It is correct to say I mourned all of them save for one: the Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series.

The lack of loss I felt did not come from a lack of love for the longtime summer staple. Indeed, the start of the series is one of my favorite harbingers of the season and I have many fond memories of wandering by the scenic Elizabeth Park locale for the Thursday-night concerts. Plus, it’s always seemed a little like sorcery the way music sprouts up all over when the weather turns sunny, from the middle of downtown to the middle of our neighborhoods.

Instead my unworried state was a result of knowing Marla Bronstein, wrangler of music and maker of magic for the Elizabeth Park series. Perhaps this is unfair, but to know Marla is to never be concerned that a solution will be found to a problem—any problem, no matter how large or insurmountable it seems on its face. Plainly put, she is a woman who Gets Shit Done, and I had a feeling she’d find a way for this show to go on.

She did just that, and in record time, too.

Not long after the city quite reasonably pulled the plug on summer gatherings in its outdoor spaces, Marla, along with her partners Bellingham Parks and Rec. and the Eldridge Society for History and Preservation, announced that the 2020 season would time travel to the future. Which is not my roundabout way of saying it will be postponed, instead it will take place virtually, via that place we all love and loathe, the worldwide web.

Since we’re all on the internet constantly these days, I can think of no better place to host it while the park is unavailable.

The virtual Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series kicks off Thurs., June 18 and will be a mix of livestreamed and prerecorded concerts broadcast on the series’ Facebook page as well as YouTube. You need not possess either a Facebook or YouTube account to join the audience, but if you want to host a watch party for you and your friends, the more the merrier.

As to who will provide the entertainment, the lineup is as follows: Free Harmony (June 18 and July 16), Craig O’s Planet Groove (June 25 and Aug. 20), the Sweet Goodbyes (July 2), High Mountain String Band (July 9), 4Tens Band (July 23), Di Young and Fruit Cocktail (July 30), the Soul Shakers (Aug. 6), and Bandzandt (Aug. 13). I’m not here to tell you what to do, but if you procure a pint of Mallard Ice Cream for the concert and someone sets up a live stream of Margaret Bikman dancing along, it’ll be almost like you’re at the park enjoying the show.

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