By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon music lovers are counting down the days to a free outdoor concert series at the city’s premier park.
Yukon Parks & Recreation is preparing for the oh-so-popular “Concerts in the Park” from June 3 to Aug. 5 at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament.
Eleven concerts – enough to satisfy nearly all musical tastes – will be presented by local bands performing at the park’s large gazebo. The public is invited to bring out their lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the 7 p.m. Thursday concerts starting next week.
“People are ready to come out and enjoy the outdoors,” YPR special events coordinator Jessica Brodmerkel said.
“This is something families can do together and feel safe and normal. And who doesn’t love music? Music makes people happy.”
YPR special events supervisor Nick Rice agreed.
“People are ‘itching’ to get out,” Rice added. “We grew Festival of the Child this year, increasing attendance from 1,200 to 1,800 kids.”
Longtime YPR Director Jan Scott said these summer concerts debuted in 2000 and have always been Thursday nights at Chisholm Trail Park.
“We’ll have different kinds of music every week,” Scott said.
“Each concert is a ‘total experience’.”
As a bonus, the concerts are free to attend. Funds raised from concession sales and special events – like Taste of Yukon – cover the costs.
The band Mountain Smoke opens Yukon’s summer concert series June 3. All concert dates have been filled, featuring everything from country and jazz to classic rock and showtunes.
A new attraction for summer 2021 will be the 395th Army Band, which takes the gazebo stage July 8 following a Freedom Fest performance July 4.
The concert series concludes Aug. 5 with a carnival featuring games and other activities.
Debuting this year will be YPR’s new bubble machine, providing non-stop fun for local children.
All concerts in Yukon’s summer park series will be Thursday night except for the Saturday, July 3 “Tribute to Veterans” and Sunday, July 4 “Freedom Fest.”
Performers and dates for Yukon’s 2021 Concerts in the Park are:
- June 3 – Mountain Smoke
- June 10 – Core Country
- June 17 – Steve Crossley & Jerry Wilson
- June 24 – Irv Wagner’s Jazz Combo
- July 3 – Hifi Hillbillies and Irv Wagner’s Concert Band
- July 4 – 395th Army Band, Ronnie Kaye, Super Freak, and OKC Philharmonic
- July 8 – 395th Army Band
- July 15 – Mystery Dates
- July 22 – OKC Concert Band
- July 29 – Smilin’ Vic & the Soul Monkeys
- Aug. 5 – Champ Devere
“Many of these bands have won awards and have been recognized throughout Oklahoma for their achievements,” said Brodmerkel, a musician who plays in the 949 Band.
Several of the performers return year after year and now have a following in Yukon.
“Patrons will come up to us at the concerts and say, ‘Bring them back … they were fantastic!’” Scott related. “We listen to what the audience says and provide music they want to hear. We’re here to please.”
Three longtime returnees at Yukon’s Concerts in the Park are Smilin’ Vic & the Soul Monkeys, Irv Wagner’s Jazz Combo and Core Country.
YPR has received the go-ahead to again offer concessions at Concerts in the Park. Only food trucks were available in 2020 due to COVID.
Rice will serve as grill master, preparing tasty hamburgers and hot dogs for concertgoers. Chips, cookies and soft drinks also will be sold.
Late in the summer, concert organizers are planning a food truck night and movie night.
YPR is the best around, Brodmerkel proclaimed.
“We’re the fun people!” she said.
The department’s veteran leader echoed that sentiment.
“We’re excited about summer!” Scott said.