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Friday, 27 May 2016 13:25

Janesville Messenger: Summer community concert guide 2016

Written by  Dennis Hines
Musician Jaime Winchell does it all when he brings his one-man Drum Rave show to the Janesville Mainstreet Entertainment series on July 12. Musician Jaime Winchell does it all when he brings his one-man Drum Rave show to the Janesville Mainstreet Entertainment series on July 12. Angela Major/

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Summer is in the air and so is the sound of music.

Outdoor concerts are offered throughout the Stateline area this summer, with many venues featuring free entertainment.

Grab your sunglasses and maybe a blanket or a few lawn chairs, then sit back and enjoy everything from rock ’n’ roll to bluegrass and jazz to country.


The Janesville Recreation Division hosts the Main Street Entertainment Series from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from June 14 to July 19 at the Marvin R. Roth Community Pavilion in Lower Courthouse Park, located near the corner of Court and Main streets in downtown Janesville.

This year’s series will feature Birddog Blues, Straight Shooter, Gary the Band, Foreign Natives, Drum Rave and the GoDeans.

Janet McLean, recreation coordinator, said she tries to bring in local bands that she feels residents will enjoy.

“Last year, Drum Rave was our biggest draw. A lot of people have asked about the GoDeans. I saw them at Riverside Park, and I thought they would be a good fit for the Main Street Entertainment Series,” McLean said. “We try to bring in a variety of music to find something everyone would like. I think (Drum Rave) was a big draw last year because he plays Top 40 music and that brought in a lot of younger people.

“We try to get new bands each year,” she said. “Our only returning bands from last year are the Birddog Blues and Drum Rave. We will bring back bands if they’re a big draw.”

In case of inclement weather, the concerts are held at the Janesville Senior Center.

“The concerts are held rain or shine,” McLean said. “I prefer shine because if it’s rainy, not as many people come out. Last year, we didn’t have to move the concerts inside because the weather was always gorgeous.”

The concerts attract about 200 people, but McLean said there’s definitely room for a bigger crowd.

“For a city the size of Janesville, we would like to see crowds of about 500 to 800 people. It’s usually a beautiful night with nice entertainment,” McLean said. “Last year, I think our highest attendance was about 450 people. People aren’t taking advantage of it. It’s in a new, beautiful pavilion. Last year, every single night we had nice weather with a variety of bands.

“It’s great entertainment for families.”


Down the road in Beloit, Friday nights are filled with music in the summer. The Friends of Riverfront present Music at Harry’s Place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, from June 17 to Aug. 26 (except for Aug. 5), at the Harry C. Moore Pavilion in Riverside Park.

“We have a variety of bands,” said Jennifer Kodl, executive director for Friends of Riverfront. “We have blues. We have jazz. We have country and we have some classic rock ’n’ roll favorites that always play.”

Some of the artists include Harlan Jefferson, Little Vito and the Torpedoes, The Bel-Airs, Dave Potter Trio, Mr. Big Stuff, Cash Box Kings, Gary McAdams Band, The Jimmys and Copper Box.

“Our Music at Harry’s crowds vary but can be between 700 to 1,000 people, so we have a really good turnout,” Kodl said. “It’s a wonderful place to be on a Friday evening in the summer.

“The park comes to life with all the activity, and there’s kids and there’s people walking with their dogs. It’s a nice place to come meet with friends and family and relax and just enjoy all that Beloit has to offer on a summer night.”

For people who want to get a little kick in their step, Friends of Riverfront also offers the Dancing at Harry’s Place series, which is held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays in June, July and August at the Harry C. Moore Pavilion. The series gives people an opportunity to learn different styles of dance, including the waltz, two-step, tango, salsa, square dancing and rumba.

“We have people who pick a night or there’s a certain dance they want to learn and there’s people who come for every lesson,” Kodl said. “It’s a great time. It’s free dance lessons and a place to come and dance. You don’t have that everywhere.”

For more information, go online to or

Lake Geneva area

Imagine listening to live music while enjoying a scenic view of Geneva Lake. It’s an experience concertgoers can expect when they attend a performance in the Music by the Lake series at George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay.

The concert series is held at the Ferro Pavilion on campus.

“It’s a beautiful venue. The pavilion overlooks the lake,” said Sarah Russe, vice president of community relations for Aurora University. “It’s a tranquil setting.”

The series will kick off at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26, with the Community Showcase, which will feature the Lake Geneva Symphony and the Dance Factory. The series also will feature Micky Dolenz of the Monkees on July 9, Postmodern Jukebox on July 16, Imagination Movers on Aug. 7, the Chicago Philharmonic on Aug. 13 and Straight No Chaser on Aug. 20. There are varying ticket prices.

For more information about Music by the Lake or to buy tickets, call 262-245-8501 or go to

Sweet sounds of music and a scenic view also can be enjoyed as part of the Concerts in the Park series in downtown Lake Geneva.

The concerts are held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays from July 7 to Aug. 25 at Flat Iron Park.

Some of this summer’s performers will include the Matt Meyers Band, Mr. Meyers Band, Geoff Landon and the Wolfpack, Kal Bergendahl Project, Georgia Rae Family Band, Mark and Gretch and Lake Geneva House of Music.

For more information, go online to

Summer sounds

Janesville Mainstreet Entertainment

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Lower Courthouse Park, Main Street, downtown Janesville

June 14, 7 p.m., Birddog Blues -- Combines some of Wisconsin’s most accomplished and creative blues artists

June 21, 7 p.m., Straight Shooter -- Classic rock hits from the ’50s through the ’80s, plus Southern and country rock

June 28, 7 p.m., Gary the Band-- Vocal harmonies and tasteful guitar work featured in classic and modern pop, rock, folk and more

July 5, 7 p.m., Foreign Natives -- A blend of pop, rock, jazz, funk, blues and alternative

July 12, 7 p.m., Drum Rave -- Top 40 music by a drummer who plays all of the instruments at once

July 19, 7 p.m., GoDeans -- Janesville-based rock band of doctors and people working in health care

Rotary Gardens Music in the Gardens

second Tuesday, Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville

June 14, 5 p.m., Dave Potter Trio -- blues, swing and jazz

July 12, 5 p.m., Foreign Natives -- a blend of pop, rock, jazz, funk, blues and alternative

Aug. 9, 5 p.m., Gary the Band -- a mixture of alternative and Americana

Edgerton concerts in the park

Sponsored by Arts Council of Edgerton at Menhall Band Pavilion in Central Park, Edgerton

June 22, 6:30 p.m., Dueces Wild – oldies

July 6, 6:30 p.m., Mad Tadders -- classic rock covers

July 27, Old Farm Dog -- bluegrass

Aug. 10, 6:30 p.m., Red Hot Horn Dawgs, Evan Riley Band



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