GLADSTONE - Gladstone residents in the mood to jam should get their lawn chairs ready - the 2012 Summer Concert Series will kick off Thursday. The series will present a new artist every Thursday at the Gladstone Beach House at 7 p.m.
"We've done this for three years and tried to get a little bit of music for everyone," said Nicole Sanderson, director of parks and recreation.
This year, the series will feature artists performing country, classic rock, reggae, folk, blue grass, show tunes and a variety of acoustic music.
Organizers recommend bringing blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets to the concerts.
"It's a two-hour concert so you can have dinner and listen to some music," said Sanderson. "Some people even bring a little portable grill."
The concession stand will also be open for people who do not wish to bring their own food.
Summer concerts will be held rain or shine. Because the concerts are held near the Kids Kingdom, parents can watch their children play on the playground equipment while listening to the music.
The number of attendees varies with the weather but the concerts are always very well attended.
"If it's a nice night, there's probably a couple hundred people there," said Sanderson.
The Summer Concert Series has always been a big hit with residents.
"We have been asked to do them longer, through the middle of August - we've had a lot of requests for that, but the funding isn't there," said Sanderson. "If we could find the funding, we have a lot of bands lined up ready to play."
Now in it's third year, the Summer Concert Series started out simply as a way to get people to go to the park and get outside.
"We knew that if there was music in the park people loved to come," said Sanderson.
Sanderson sees the Summer Concert Series as a way to extend the Fourth of July weekend.
"It's kind of nice because the 5th of July, Southbound is in the park," she said. "The Vietnam Memorial Wall will still be up so if you missed it on the Fourth, you can see it then."
Many of the bands featured in the Summer Concert Series are from the U.P., such as Derrell Syria, from Marquette, Hozz, from Negaunee, and Jam Band, from Gladstone.
"We tried to go local as much as possible," said Sanderson.
Hozz, scheduled for July 19, has been a part of the Gladstone Summer Concert Series before.
"If you go to the Hozz website there's a video of them performing in the park," said Sanderson. The video can be found at www.hozz.com.
For more information about the Gladstone Summer Concert Series, contact Gladstone Parks and Recreation at 428-9222.