No pandemic was going to stop this 25th Anniversary!
Thanks to the beautiful weather of the PNW, the City of Issaquah has been able to host free, family-friendly musical offerings to its residents every summer since 1996, and this summer is no exception.
Tuesdays in July and August have been delightful, as patrons of the arts try to find ways to entertain their loved ones and support the local creators and musicians. The satisfying return of the annual Concerts on the Green uplifts incredible bands, many of whom have been unable to easily stay connected with their audiences remotely through the last year.
Nestled comfortably and social-distanced on the lawn outside of the Issaquah community center, folks have finally been able to dance and relax once again. Luckily, the Kiwanis Club has continued to be a great partner in facilitating these concerts and selling concessions to keep it feeling like an easy-going party. And this year, all the bands chosen to perform were tribute bands.
This series opened with The Beatles and has wound its way through ZZ Top, Paul McCartney, Supertramp, and more. Issaquah locals have gotten to enjoy The Lonely Hearts Club, Creedence Revelation, El Loco. Wingsnthings, Doctorfunk, Psuedotramp, and Third Stage. They’ve all been excellent and celebratory, with an especially moving performance from Third Stage, a Boston tribute band.
In a moment that feels easy for many to focus on what we may have lost, the theme of 2021’s concerts can offer a particularly poetic reminder. “A Summer of Tributes” repositions our internal compasses not toward the frenetic fight for the future, but toward the comfort and connectivity of the past. Through our roots and our loves, there is unlimited grounding and stability to be rediscovered. By honoring those who honor others, we cultivate an appreciation for our history and teach our children to search for value in exploration as much as creation.
There is also a healthy minimalist message to be found in this collection of talented musicians. Sometimes we don’t have to obsess over the new. Sometimes it is every bit as important to enjoy the best of what we already have, to make the most of the things that already exist.
Every art form has a tradition of treasuring both the ideas and the execution of those ideas. The talent of a playwright is just as essential as the talent of an actor. The master sculptor needs assistants and craftspeople to make their small rendering life-sized for a gallery. An audience can relish a quality composition played by a tribute musician every bit as much as if it were played by the original composer. Acknowledging and esteeming both skillsets will continue to buoy the fine arts no matter how long the pandemic continues.
So don’t miss the last concert on August 24, 2021, with the music of The Rolling Stones from tribute band Stonesy. They’ll be wafting powerful notes through the downtown air from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. (These times have been accurate throughout the summer — another consequence of COVID, both individuals and institutions are more strictly adhering to agreed upon plans.)
And if you arrive early, you never know what other kind of art may grace the area and start your picnic off right. On August 17th, for example, one of Issaquah’s day camps (Camp 'Quah) for kids entering grades 2 through 5, gifted their talents to chalk drawings surrounding the green. You could walk up and down the pathways, listening to “More Than A Feeling” (appropriately, a famous rock song about the power of music to take you back to a time before you lost someone or something important to you) and soaking in hope. They continue to be an additional tribute to art, heart, and imagination.
But even if you miss this summer’s last concert, never fear. The City of Issaquah has a joyful assemblage of video footage displaying past concerts, which you can enjoy here. Consider stringing up a hammock using your kid’s stroller- or whatever you happen to have in your backyard- to recreate the chill atmosphere. Spread out a picnic and let the good times roll.
Additionally, other outdoor arts continue to crop up in the area despite all odds, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for upcoming events in the Seattle suburbs.
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