Turn, turn, turn. There's a time and purpose to every season. In California, the summer season is the time to rock. Nearly every city in California has a free summer concerts and for that, you can be thankful. In places such as Hollywood, they only offer one or two free concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and they charge for the rest. But other cities use outdoor park venues and street fairs to bring music into the lives of citizens and visitors. Baldwin Park launched its concert series with Pancho Sanchez, the Latin Jazz great. Many city concert series line-ups will include some sort of jazz band, but the most popular themes this season seem to be 80s music, Elvis impersonators, and tribute bands to Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, for instance. The free summer concert season is usually held one night per week over a period of four to 12 weeks, and normally starts around June or July, ending around Labor Day in early September.
Some places welcome hometown bands that locals favor, and the reception is nothing less than overwhelming. In cities such as Long Beach, which touts the oldest municipal band in the country (over 100 years in existence!), people stake out their spots on the lawn at 7 a.m., leaving chairs to hold their place for their return in the evening. Those concerts in the park are said to have around 5,000 attendance.
Music is as important to the human soul as food is to the body. Some cities have slashed their free concerts or reduced them during economic downturns, exactly when they should be finding ways to keep the music flowing. There are thousands of bands willing to play for free and some are great. They just seek exposure as they work their way up the ladder to increased CD sales and eventual fame. If your town has dropped the concerts, offer to pitch in and help keep them going, free of charge. Never underestimate the power of the people, their determination, and their passion for great music. Local sponsors such as a bank are often great partners in helping fund these events. Music moves people and the summer season turn, turn, turns when the music flows.