Pittsfield’s Summer Concert Series at Hathorn Park will return next week, kicking off with The Allison Ames Band, following a season the previous year that had pandemic restrictions.

The series starts Thursday, July 1, at 6 p.m., and will run through the summer. Performances are free and open to the public. Concerts are every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the gazebo in Hathorn Park. In cases of rain, the concert will be moved indoors or rescheduled for Friday. Visitors can check the concert series’ Facebook page, Summer Concert Series Pittsfield Maine, for updates.

Now in its sixth year, “we’re at the point where … it’s a pretty strong tradition for the town,” said organizer Jan Laux.

Every year organizers receive donations from businesses in town to pay for the acts that allow the concerts to be free to the public. This year, 31 businesses donated to the concert series.

“Each year the number of businesses that are participating in the donations and the number of people showing up for the (concerts) just has gotten larger and larger,” Laux said.

Laux and Barbara Denaro Hanson organize the concerts each year and came up with the idea after meeting in a ukulele group.

“Jan and I met in our ukulele group, and we got along and hit it off,” Hanson said. “We talked about music, and he said, ‘I think it’d be cool to bring music to Pittsfield.’ So we talked, and we just did it.”

Last year, Laux said, they were able to hold the concert series but had additional pandemic guidelines in place. Organizers worked with the state to come up with guidelines for the audience to ensure the concerts could go on.

“People were great, and they followed our rules,” Laux said.

Designated aisles were marked on the grass with white paint to help people physically distance themselves and keep the audience back from the bands. Hanson said she lives near Maine Central Institute, so she went over to the school and asked to borrow their football field striper to paint the lines. The school let her use the striper and provided her with paint, so Hanson and Laux headed to the park to mark out the lines.

“(The audience) stayed on the white lines; they stayed 6 feet apart,” Laux said. “It was just a really great summer because it got people out and about even though it was the middle of the virus.”

Hanson said that they wanted to keep the community event going when so many others had been canceled because of the pandemic and help draw visitors to Pittsfield and encourage them to support the town’s local businesses.

This year they aren’t going to paint the lines, Laux said, but will still ask people to keep a safe distance and be courteous to others.

The concerts have steadily grown in popularity over the years, Laux said, and there is usually a solid turnout all summer. There are usually food trucks around so visitors can get dinner while they enjoy the music.

Normally the series runs nine weeks, but this year Laux said they decided to host a 10th act the first week of September before it gets too cold.

The artists are a mix of local performers and artists from out of state, and several have played in the concert series in years past.

Don Boudreau, an Elvis impersonator and tribute artist, will be back Aug. 26 for the third year in a row, Laux said. Cold Engines, a rock band, will also be back for the fourth year. There is a wide variety in music styles, Laux said, from Studio Two, a Beatles tribute band, to The Allison Ames Band, which plays more country music.

Overall, Hanson said, she loves the concerts, because it is a way for the community to come together and enjoy the summer months and she has enjoyed watching the events grow in popularity.

“We started very modest and grew each year, and it seems to be raising excitement in the community and now it’s great — Jan and I can watch the excitement build,” Hanson said.

 

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