When the temperature starts to rise, the rain goes away and the kids are out of school, it means it’s time for summertime concerts in St. Joseph.
Three different series will bring names of both national and local varieties to spots in downtown St. Joseph.
• • •
River Bluff Brewery’s Summer Concert Series
St. Joseph has a storied history of bringing big, national-touring acts to venues like the Civic Arena and Civic Center Park.
Events like Trails West! and Missouri Western State University’s Spring Concert series brought performers such as Ludacris, J. Cole, Taylor Swift, KISS and White Zombie to the area. In recent years, both have gone away. River Bluff Brewery wants to help pick up the slack.
“It’s definitely filling a void, especially when Trails West! announced that they weren’t coming back,” Edison Derr, co-owner of River Bluff Brewing, said.
In its first summer in St. Joseph, the microbrewery, located at 1224 Frederick Ave., decided to bring some of that national flavor to the area with its own outdoor concert series, starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, with former Lynyrd Skynyrd member Artimus Pyle and ’80s cover band Blue Oyster Culture Club.
“If you’re going to do it, you might as well invest a little bit more and just bring in some different names and see if it works. It’s something that hasn’t been done here — a one-night concert with one main headliner. Basically, we just wanna have a good time,” Derr said.
The River Bluff Brewery schedule will cover a range of decades, including pop-country artist Uncle Kracker, who hit it big in the 2000s with hits like “Follow Me,” “Smile,” “When The Sun Goes Down” and his cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.” He’ll be performing at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 22. Also set for the summer is up-and-coming country singer Carly Pearce (6 p.m. Saturday, June 29), who recently appeared on “The Today Show,” and singer-songwriter David Lee Murphy (6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10), who is famous for songs like “Dust on the Bottle” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
“The people that come to River Bluff, they cover a range of ages, so we wanted to give them a little bit of everything,” Derr said. “Having a good time, that’s pretty much what we’re about. We make beer and we play music, and now we’re gonna have a lot of music and provide the dance floor, have some fun.”
Each show will be held in River Bluff Brewery’s parking lot, with a giant stage, reserved seating and general admission standing-room pits.
“There’s room for a lot of people. But it’s also such a small space that you’re going to be close. If you’re the 2,000th people to walk in here, you’re not watching a big video screen. You’re able to see that person’s face and the emotions as they play,” Derr said.
Tickets for each show are on sale now at www.eventbrite.com.
6 p.m. Sundays, June 2 through Aug. 11
Celebrating its seventh anniversary, the Imagine Eleven Concert Series has been providing family-friendly entertainment with an array of food vendors and children’s activities, all for a good cause.
Created by a combination of 20 churches in the area, the series helps raise money for The Center, a full-service mental health agency in St. Joseph. The facility provides financial assistance to those who do not have insurance and offers various financial options to those who do.
Highlighting acts from St. Joseph and Kansas City, the series will feature Valentine & The Knights (June 2), the New Generation Singers (June 9), Bill Hoffman and The Firebabies (June 16), Friends (June 23), The Center State (June 30), Under The Big Oak Tree (July 7), Jeff Bergen as Elvis (July 14), Lyin’ Eyes (July 21), St. Joseph Big Band Jam (July 28), Atlantic Express (Aug. 4) and Soca Jukebox (Aug. 11).
“It’s warm, it’s accepting. There’s a lot of diversity in this community ... and as I discover that, that’s just something. I just love it,” Roger Lenander, pastor at First Lutheran Church, said in a previous interview.
Sounds of Summer
6:30 p.m. Fridays, June 7 through July 26
The Sounds of Summer concert series lives up to its name every year, providing a variety of breezy, sunny rock from around the area. In its 21st year, the series continues to grow.
“It has subsequently grown every year — word of mouth and now we have social media and other marketing things. The association has grown and there’s a lot more merchants down here and a lot more people that are involved Downtown,” Becky Boerkircher, executive director of the St. Joseph Downtown Partnership, said in a previous interview.
This year’s lineup will include The Instamatics (June 7), multiple performers for the Celtic Street Faire (June 21), Soca Jukebox (June 28), Under The Influence (July 12), True North (July 19) and Swift Kik (July 26).
All of the concerts are free, family-friendly and open to the public.