One of my favorite things about summer is the variety of live music that happens outdoors, especially when it’s free. And Lincoln has a great tradition of free music--Jazz in June, Hear Lincoln, lunch hour at the Foundation Gardens, to name just a few. One of the favorites takes place in our backyard--the Stransky Park concert series, sponsored by the folks at KZUM.
Every Thursday at 7 p.m., through August 14, performers will take the stage under the gazebo at Stransky Park (17th and Harrison) to entertain crowds of all ages. The bands range in style from bluegrass to jazz to rock/ska, and the music is family-friendly.
The series has been going for about 10 years now, and KZUM has brought back some crowd favorite bands and created a faithful following in the process. Sandy Creek Bluegrass, an established local group that brings traditional tunes to life, packs a big crowd every year. Unfortunately their show was rained out this year, but look for them to be back in the future. This week, Lincoln-based folk band Jack Hotel will take the stage (July 24), followed by Chicago-style blues from the local Honeyboy Turner Band next week (July 31).
There’s a great feel of close-knit community at the Stransky Park series. Since it’s a small space enclosed by a peaceful neighborhood around, it’s off the beaten path and takes some intentionality to get there. Once there though, the laid back feel of the place encourages you to get situated and enjoy the breeze, the sound of playing kids and happy people, and the feeling of enjoying all of this with people you probably don’t know. Yet.
The park isn’t huge, so the number of people that stream in the gates for the shows fill up the grassy lawn pretty quick. There is lots to keep kids occupied, and when they’re not dancing in front of the band, I’ve seen them roaming around the park, playing on the playground equipment and climbing the rock waterfall at the back.
Parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood, so take care to not block driveways and be prepared to walk a pace or two. Don’t forget to bring a chair or blanket to sit on! And if you accidentally come hungry, they do have bbq sandwiches and chips for sale for $5.
The concert series is free thanks to a group of local sponsors, but the bands play for peanuts--tips, to be exact. You’ll see the “love the band” buckets in front of the stage, so feel free to fill them up and keep the good bands coming back!
For up-to-date information and the full summer schedule, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stranskyconcerts
Photo Credit: Christina Case, taken at the Cornerstone Dub show June 19, 2014