Sounds of Summer: Free Outdoor Concerts in Cleveland & Akron

Sounds of Summer: Free Outdoor Concerts in Cleveland & Akron

Edgewater LIVE, photo by Kyle Lanzer

 

By Ginny McCabe

 

Featuring, pop, rock, reggae, funk, disco, jazz, blues, country, tribute bands and more, many free, family-friendly concert series are underway in local communities across the Northeast Ohio region. We spoke with several local officials who gave us insight on some of the popular kid-friendly concert events this season. 

Water’s Edge

Kelly Manderfield, chief marketing officer at Cleveland Metroparks, says the summer entertainment line-up allows families a chance to experience the outdoors and the beauty of nature through music. Concertgoers can take in a diverse array of music spanning the park district this summer, at locations such as Edgewater Park, Euclid Beach Park, Garfield Park Reservation, Rocky River Reservation and South Chagrin Reservation, to name a few. 

“Cleveland Metroparks spans 23,000 acres, and 18 park reservations, and there’s over a 100-year history there — and music, we found, is a common thread that brings people together,” says Manderfield. 

Returning for the sixth consecutive year are Cleveland Metroparks’ popular lakefront concert series: Edgewater LIVE presented by Cuyahoga Community College, Thursdays through Aug. 1; and Euclid Beach LIVE presented by Dollar Bank, Fridays through Aug. 2 (no concerts on July 4 and 5). Edgewater LIVE and Euclid Beach LIVE have become summer staples in Cleveland. For more information on these and other Cleveland Metroparks concert series, go to clevelandmetroparks.com/concerts. 

Families and children can enjoy Cleveland Metroparks’ Euclid Beach LIVE photo by Kyle Lanzer)

For adults and children alike, a setting like Edgewater creates an amazing backdrop for a concert, while Euclid Beach is ideal for a picnic in the park with more grassy space and the new Euclid Beach Pier. Concerts give attendees the chance to spend time outdoors, enjoying a number of natural assets. 

Top Step

LakewoodAlive’s Front Porch Concert Series (lakewoodalive.org), which takes place on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library on Sunday nights from 7-9 p.m., is another example of a concert series that attracts a lot of families. Children and adults can read inside the library, and then stay for an evening concert on the front porch, where the top step doubles as a concert stage. 

“We encourage guests to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, pack a picnic, or pick up some food from a local restaurant and make a night of it,” says Ian Andrews, executive director of LakewoodAlive. “It’s a lot of fun and the bands are high energy. We’ve received a lot of great response from attendees…It’s a nice Friday night out in Downtown Lakewood.” 

He says families with children of all ages come and listen to the concerts, regardless of the genre. With a mix of children and adults, there are a lot of smiles, dancing and fun. In some cases, children are invited to perform at the concert series. 

“We also partner with the Lakewood Music Collective, and they work exclusively with student bands,” Andrews says. “We actually have a student band performance, the Lakewood Music Collective Student Ensembles, on Friday, Aug. 30, which is the last concert of the season. That’s a lot of fun, because parents and grandparents come and see their children and grandchildren playing, in some cases for the first time publicly. Many of these kids are middle school students, and it’s a big deal for them to be up there in front of a crowd — it’s a lot of fun to see them shine.”

Community Celebration

Pam Rice, administrative coordinator for Rocky River Recreation, says the Summer Sunset Concerts in Rocky River have become a very popular part of summer activities that the city hosts. On average, 150 guests of all ages show up for each concert. 

“This is a great way to celebrate our community, meet up with friends, and have an enjoyable evening that’s of no cost to (attendees),” Rice says. “Bring a picnic; it’s a fun way to spend a summer evening.” 

Attendees turn out not only from Rocky River, but also surrounding communities like Westlake and Fairview Park. 

“The concerts bring our community together, and they feature some of the fun, nice things that the City of Rocky River has to offer,” Rice adds. “We are fortunate to live in a community where we have these things that are offered, and people come out to support them.”

East Side Rocks

With the recently built Mentor Civic Amphitheater in Mentor, families can enjoy Lake Health Mentor Rocks summer concerts on Tuesdays through Aug. 13. 

More than 40 events are hosted at the Mentor Civic Amphitheater each year, including rock concerts, orchestral performances, Shakespeare in the Park, movie nights and more. The tribute band acts in the summer introduce music to the littlest fans.

The facility features a 3,000-square-foot stage, 30,000-watt sound system, two 14×7-foot video boards and has a seating capacity in excess of 7,500. The venue features lawn seating, so bring your own lawn chairs or blankets.

Food is available for purchase from vendors including Nick’s Gyros, the Hunger Squad, Scott’s Fire and Ice, East Coast Custard, Chick-fil-A, Moe’s Southern Grill, Stewart’s Smoking BBQ, Pierogi Joe’s, Classic Kettle Corn, and Snowie Bus.

 

Here’s a sampling of free concert series across Northeast Ohio this summer: 

Families and children can enjoy Cleveland Metroparks’ Euclid Beach LIVE photo by Kyle Lanzer)

Akron Summer Concert Series in the Parks
Bring your chair, have a picnic dinner, catch up with your neighbors and enjoy these weekly free concerts. All of the bands are family-friendly and refreshments are offered at each site. Dozens of concerts are planned through the end of August at various city parks. For details including bands, locations and times, visit akronohio.gov.

Chagrin Valley Chamber Simple Summer Nights Concert Series
The series will be held on Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at Chagrin Falls Triangle Park, as well as Tuesday night concerts that take place in different communities throughout the Valley, including Bainbridge, Pepper Pike, Bentleyville, South Russell and Newbury. Go to cvcc.org for more information. 

Cleveland Metroparks
Stinchcomb Summer Concerts at Rocky River Reservation are held Wednesday evenings in July. Head to Look About Lodge in South Chagrin Reservation to experience a unique variety of blues, bluegrass and Americana for a six-week Sunday concert series that kicks off on July 7. Cleveland Metroparks also offers live entertainment on Fridays at Emerald Necklace Marina from 6-9 p.m. and Saturdays at East 55th Street Marina for E55 on the Lake, from 7-10 p.m. Go to clevelandmetroparks.com/concerts

Edgewater LIVE
This nine-week concert series on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. take place on the Centennial Plaza at Edgewater Beach House, with performers from the Tri-C Creative Arts Program. Then, from 6-9 p.m., headlining acts perform on the Dollar Bank Stage. Visitors can enjoy local food trucks and made-to-order fare from the Beach House. Plus, there’s sand volleyball, yoga, and a nature center for renting stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. Visit clevelandmetroparks.com/concerts. 

Euclid Beach LIVE
Cleveland Metroparks’ Friday night concert series, Euclid Beach LIVE, will be held from 6-9 p.m. at Euclid Beach Park. In addition to nine weeks of free, live music enjoy the new Euclid Beach Pier, which totals 315 feet long from the top of the bluff, with half of it extending over Lake Erie. Also, enjoy horseshoes, cornhole and live animals. clevelandmetroparks.com/concerts

Hale Farm & Village Thursday Night Music Club Series
Some of the region’s best musicians will be featured in a beautiful outdoor setting on Thursdays July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 19, and Friday, Oct. 25, from 5-9 p.m. Enjoy offerings from Hale Farm’s own Café 1810; treats from Peace, Love and Little Donuts; a cash bar; featured Ohio winery or brewery; bonfire and shopping at the MarketPlace. Go to halefarm.org for more information.

Lake Metroparks Concerts & More at the Glen
Enjoy live entertainment at this outdoor summer series at Penitentiary Glen’s Outdoor Classroom. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for a relaxing evening on the lawn. The Nature Center and Wildlife Yard will be open during the performances, and snacks and beverages will be available for purchase in The Nature Store. Concerts take place at 7 p.m. on the following dates: July 12, 18 and 26; Aug. 8, 16 and 30. Visit lakemetroparks.com.

Kids enjoy the activities and sounds at LakewoodAlive (photo by Judie Vegh/OyVegh Photography).

LakewoodAlive’s Front Porch Concert Series
Featuring a variety of genres and musical styles, this series returns for 10 consecutive weeks on the front steps of the Lakewood Public Library on Sunday evenings from 7-9 p.m. through Aug. 30. Guests are encouraged to bring snacks, blankets and chairs. Also, check out the Lakewood Summer Meltdown, a festival with live music and more, on July 13 from 4-10 p.m. For more information, go to lakewoodalive.org

Legacy Live Concert Series
The Legacy Live Concert Series at Legacy Village features live music in a variety of genres every Friday and Saturday night from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The series continues through Aug. 31. (Located on the lawn, in between California Pizza Kitchen and Bar Louie.) For details and a complete lineup, visit legacy-village.com.

Live at the Lake
Live at the Lake at MTA Lines Stage will return to Coe Lake Park in Berea for the 2019 summer concert series on Fridays from 8-10 p.m. (through Aug. 2). Each evening will feature a tribute band, as well as food trucks, and beer and wine sales. Also, don’t forget the Grindstone Festival on July 4-6 from 4-10 p.m. at Coe Lake Park. More information is available at cityofberea.org/226

Mentor Rocks
The 2019 Lake Health Mentor Rocks summer concert series, located at the new Mentor Civic Amphitheater, takes place on Tuesdays through Aug. 27. Learn more at mentorrocks.info.

Music in the Park
Crocker Park, located in Westlake, hosts live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 6-8:30 p.m. The free concert series includes a wide variety of music genres and runs through Aug. 31. For more information, go to crockerpark.com.

Simple Summer Sundays
Pinecrest and the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce present the Simple Summer Sundays Concert Series at Pinecrest. These free, outdoor community concerts will be held every Sunday from 3-5 p.m. on the lawn of Central Park at Pinecrest, located between Silverspot Cinema and Pinstripes. The concerts, which feature a variety of music styles, run through Aug. 25. For more information, visit discoverpinecrest.com.

Summer Dancing Series
Summer Dancing Series is another example of Cleveland Metroparks’ diverse offerings. These events will be held on Tuesdays at Garfield Park and Wednesdays at Euclid Beach. Guests can enjoy two hours of free, urban line dance instruction. Park visitors also can broaden their musical skills with the West African Drum Circle Series at Garfield Park on Aug. 16 and at Euclid Beach on Aug. 23. Go to clevelandmetroparks.com/concerts for more details. 

Summer Music Nights
Grab some chairs and a blanket and head over to the First & Main Green in Hudson every Friday and Saturday in July and August for evenings of music, dancing and giveaways. Enjoy the sounds of top bands from the area as they perform lively cover music and originals to suit all tastes. The free concerts take place from 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit firstandmainhudson.com.

Summer Sunset Concerts
Summer Sunset Concerts will be held at Rocky River City Hall Park Gazebo (21012 Hilliard Blvd.) on select Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. River Days will be held on Saturday, July 13, from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, July 14, from noon-4 p.m. There will be music on July 13 from The Sloppy Joe Band from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and Funkology from 2-4 p.m. On July 14, the Revolution Pie concert with free Pie in the Park is an annual highlight. The Sunday, July 21 concert with Rumours is Dog Days (free hot dogs provided by Rocky River City Council). The concerts on Sunday, July 14, and Sunday, Aug. 25, with Dan Zola Band will be held at Rocky River Park (20250 Beach Cliff Blvd.). The concert series runs through Aug. 25. For more details, go to rrcity.com

Whiskey Island Still & Eatery
The Whiskey Island Still & Eatery 2019 concert series on the shore of Lake Erie will continue through Sept. 14. Concerts will be offered on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. 2800 Whiskey Island (next to Wendy Park, one mile East of Edgewater Park.) Families are welcome and this casual, American-style restaurant offers a full menu. For more details, go to whiskeyislandstillandeatery.net

WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays
Enjoy a free concert each Wednesday night on Wade Oval in the heart of University Circle. Food trucks, vendors, theme nights, and activities vary each week and are all family-friendly. Bring a picnic or purchase delicious treats from vendors on site. Select museums are open late on Wednesdays. Concerts run from 6-9 p.m., with the exception of Aug. 14 and 21, which run from 6-8 p.m. For more information, visit universitycircle.org.

About the author

Denise Koeth is managing/digital editor of Northeast Ohio Parent. She writes for and assists with production of the print magazine, as well as manages digital content on the NortheastOhioParent.com website and oversees the brand’s social media activity. Denise grew up in Northeast Ohio and she and her husband are currently raising their two boys here.

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