Text: R. Collins // Photography: Daymon Gardner, William J. Hebert, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
After a quiet summer in 2020, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts series is back with a well-rounded lineup of national and international musicians that will grace its lawn from July 18 through September 19, 2021. The series comprises a total of 28 performances, with several familiar names on the roster such as the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Collective Soul, Indigo Girls, The Beach Boys, and Shakey Graves. The effort to organize this summer’s events was a particular challenge amid the recesses of pandemic, but so far, the series has already amassed enough early ticket sales to sell out 15 performances, and the rest of the public ticket sales begin Saturday, July 10th.
“It was a huge team effort to pull off a season in 2021. Each year, concert planning is a crazy puzzle of trying to match available bands who are touring through the Midwest with available dates that we have open at Meijer Gardens, but this year was especially difficult,” said John VanderHaagen, director of communications at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We couldn’t have pulled this off without the great teamwork of our concert promoter, Chris Mautz, and the many people at Meijer Gardens involved with concert planning.”
Other performances on this summer’s concert series comprise The Verve Pipe, Watchhouse—formerly Mandolin Orange—Kansas, Emmylou Harris + Los Lobos, Harry Connick Jr. and his Band, America, Umphrey’s McGee, Mat Kearney, Blues Traveler + JJ Grey & Mofro, 38 Special, Squeeze, Ani DiFranco, Colin Hay of Men at Work, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Old Crow Medicine Show, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, O.A.R., Black Violin + Blind Boys of Alabama, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, and Lettuce + Galactic feat. Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph.
“This year’s series is two-fewer shows than we normally present, but the quality and range of acts is very much similar to other years. Early ticket sales results show that people are hungry for live entertainment, and we’re excited to be presenting live music on the Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater stage once again,” VanderHaagen said.
Fans are invited to view their favorite musicians from the terraced lawn seating surrounded by views of gardens and sculpture, which is complemented by food, drinks, and merchandise on-site. As the gardens have undergone many changes within the last couple of years, and even since the 2019 summer concert series, guests will notice the completion of the new Welcome Center upon entrance and all new parking lots too, as well as an enhanced and expanded Eileen DeVries Concessions Building and the Meijer –Shedleski Picnic Pavilion located on the Frey Foundation Plaza near the amphitheater entrance.
Apart from the Fifth Third Summer Concerts Series, Meijer Gardens is hosting its Tuesday Evening Music Club from July 6th through August 31st, which features local and regional musicians and cultural organizations like the Grand Rapids Ballet on the Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater stage. With its outdoor amphitheater and new additions designed to make the guest experience more comfortable and enjoyable, Meijer Gardens are prepped for a summer event series fit for families, friends, travelers, locals, and solo music lovers of all kinds.