Concerts in the Park series kicks off June 25

June 5, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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Chance McKinney, of the country band Nathan Chance and Northcoast, will be among the featured performers at this year’s Concerts in the Park series at Lake Boren Park. Photo by Jim Feehan

A collection of country artists and classic rock bands will be among this year’s Concerts in the Park lineup. The eight-week series, at Lake Boren Park, kicks off June 25 with the classic rock band Bad Habit. One of the band members, Gil Rene, hails from Newcastle.

Seattle band deja groove will offer up its 1970s-era cover versions of The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, the B-52s and other artists July 9.

Up next is the Pop Offs, who will offer cover versions of popular ’80s and ’90s pop rock tunes. The Pop Offs perform July 16.

Nathan Chance and Northcoast, a country band that opened for George Strait last year, will perform July 23. 

“The band played at last year’s Concerts in the Park series and they really wanted to play Newcastle again,” said Jules Maas, special events producer for the city.

Southern Cross, an acoustic rock band, performs July 30.

Free Rain, will offer cover versions of Beatles and Rolling Stones songs Aug. 6.

Union Jack will play cover versions of Rolling Stones songs Aug. 13.

The concert series concludes Aug. 20 with Timeless Soul offering up its brand of soul and Motown music.

Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re looking for a variety of artists from the rock and country genres,” Maas said of the criteria in selecting bands. “We’re looking for a sound that the audience responds to. I do like to have bands that have Newcastle members.”

About 60 bands applied to perform. Maas said she listens to demo tapes and MySpace Web sites.

“I also like to see as many bands in person as possible,” Maas said.” You can see how they perform and how the audience reacts to them.”

The city of Newcastle and Julie and Ben Varon sponsor the concert series.

In another popular summer attraction, the city will once again host Moonlight Movies on a large inflatable screen at Lake Boren Park.

“Over the Hedge” will be shown Aug. 1, followed by “Monsters, Inc.” Aug. 8 and “Ratatouille” Aug. 15. The movies begin shortly after sundown.

The city will also host a Fourth of July fireworks celebration. From 8-10 p.m. July 4, the band HiWatt will be featured on the main stage, followed by the fireworks display.

Newcastle Days, the city’s biggest festival, is Sept. 6-7.

Magician Kevin Wolfe, and Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth make a return engagement at this year’s Newcastle Days. A car show is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

“We’re also looking at having paddleboats on the lake,” Maas said.

An art show is also in the works, she said.

“An art show is something people have been asking for,” she said. “It could be juried or we could have a vote by the public for best of show.”

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