Outdoor Bandstand Concerts ... Free and Oh So Fun
By Kathi Caldwell-Hopper
Free, fun, family-friendly and musical. You just can’t go wrong with a summer bandstand concert. If you like that idea, you have many from which to choose. Free outdoor bandstand concerts are taking place all over the Lakes Region this summer. Grab a lawn chair or blanket for seating/relaxing and sit back for some great music; many concert series also offer concessions so you can get a snack and drink while enjoying the music.
If you want to experience a true town band, attend summer concerts by Moulton’s Band, the oldest continuous band in New Hampshire. Now celebrating its 130th year, the band offers free outdoor bandstand concerts the second, third and fourth Wednesdays in July and August, rotating at three locations. Those bandstand locations are The Baptist Church on Rt. 132; Mountain View bandstand on Steele Hill Rd., and the Town Square Bandstand on Tower Hill Rd. The concerts are at 7 pm and refreshments are sold during the shows. Visit Moulton’s Band Facebook page for updates and a schedule. New band members of all ages and abilities are welcome.
The Weirs Community Park offers free outdoor concerts in July and August. On July 20, The Bel Airs will be the entertainment and on August 2, Saxx Rox takes to the stage. Performances are at 6 pm and are free; bring a lawn chair or blanket for outdoor seating. Call 603-524-5046 for further information.
In the Laconia area, the bandstand in Rotary Park on Beacon Street East is the place to be for a series of great free outdoor concerts. The Belknap Mill has coordinated the concert series, and the Mill is located right next to the park. In the event of rain, concerts will be held inside the Mill on the third floor. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. On July 19, the Michael Vincent Band takes to the bandstand, followed by Crescendo’s Gate on July 27; Club Soda on August 2; Great Bay Sailor on August 30, and the Rockin’ Daddios on Sept. 6. Concerts are from 6 to 8 pm. Call 603-524-8813 for details.
Stop by Gilford Village field for some good, old-fashioned band music performed by the Gilford Community Band on Wednesdays, July 17, July 31, and August 14. Concerts take place in the Weeks Bandstand and all are welcome to attend. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating, then relax and enjoy the music. The band will present an eclectic mix of patriotic marching tunes, popular music, and classical selections. In case of rain, the concert will be at the Gilford Performing Arts Center in the high school. For more information, contact Lyvie Beyrent at email@example.com.
The little town of Hebron near Newfound Lake offers a popular gazebo concert series each summer. The concerts are a bit unique, because a different business or organization does a barbecue/food during a concert. On July 13, Club Soda performs with a barbecue by Hebron Store; July 20 will see Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki performing Celtic music with an ice cream social by Friends of the Hebron Library, and Lunch at the Dump band with barbecue by Hebron Village Store takes place on August 3. A Family Fun Day on Aug. 17 will feature events all day with John Irish Duo and Don Campbell Band in the evening, followed by a fireworks display. For information, call 603-744-3335.
Also in the Newfound Lake area, Bristol is celebrating its bicentennial this summer and offers a lot of happenings. Among those events are the free concerts at the Kelley Park Concert Pavilion each Thursday from 6:30 to 8 pm. On July 11, Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki performs; on July 18 the Country Mile Band is scheduled, followed by Studio Two Beatles Tribute Band on July 25; Uncle Steve Band on August 1; the fun Back Shed String Band on August 15 and Honest Millie on August 22. On August 8 plan to attend the 67th annual Penny Sale at Newfound Regional High School at 6:30 pm.
The Alan and Savina Hartwell Memorial Free Summer Concerts at Tilton Island Park’s bandstand on Main Street in Tilton are beloved in the area. This is the 27th year of the concert series; shows are free and in memory of Alan and Savina Hartwell. Savina was a talented professional singer and her husband, Alan, worked tirelessly to present the concerts in her memory each year until his passing. His family carries on the organization of the concerts. Show run from 6 to 8:30 pm. On July 14, Doo Wop All Stars take to the bandstand; July 21 brings Club Soda; July 28 will feature 60s Invasion, with East Bay Big Band on August 4; Soultown Band on August 11; August 18 sees the Bel Aires and A Salute to our Veterans with Annie & the Orphans rounds out the season on August 25. Please bring your own blanket or lawn chair for seating. No alcohol is allowed. Concerts are free but donations are appreciated. Performances are weather permitting and subject to cancellation in the event of bad weather. Call 603-286-3000 for updates and more information.
In Tuftonboro, an outdoor concert series is a popular mid-week happening in the Lakes Region. Spearheaded by the Tuftonboro Parks and Recreation committee, the free Summer Concerts at the Pavilion take place in a beautiful lakeside setting at 19 Mile Bay Beach Pavilion on Bay Road in Tuftonboro. Granite Planet will perform on July 11, followed by Big Picture Band on July 18; The Wooden Nickels Band will perform on July 25; on August 30 it will be Not 30, and on August 8 the popular Carolyn Ramsay Band will entertain. Shows begin at 6:30 pm; bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. Visit www.tuftonboro.org. for information.
Alton Bay is a fun place in the summer months. The bandstand at water’s edge is the location for a group of outdoor summer concerts that are free and just steps from all kinds of dining. There is docking nearby and the concerts take place each Saturday starting at 7 pm. The lineup includes July 13: Chippy and the Ya Ya’s; July 20: Shana Stack Band; July 27: Bittersweet; August 3: East Bay Jazz Ensemble; August 10: Blacklite Band; August 17: Chris Bonoli; August 24: Saxx Roxx. You can bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. Also, the beloved Barbershop weekend will take place on August. 17 at 2 pm with a Harmony Jamboree at the Alton Bay Bandstand. On August 17 at 7:30 pm, the Barbershop Harmony Jamboree begins at 7:30 pm at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton (242 Suncook Valley Rd.).
In the summer, the Center Harbor Parks and Recreation Band Concert Series performs in the town bandstand near the Fire Station. There is plenty of lawn space for concertgoers to spread out a blanket or bring a lawn chair for seating. Concerts take place Fridays on July 12, 19, 26, August 2 and August 9 at 7 pm. Rain dates are the day following the scheduled concerts. Practice for each concert takes place at 6 pm, an hour before each scheduled show. Guest concerts include: August 16 with Michelle Canning Band, banjo and bluegrass from 6:30-8:30 pm; August 23: Moose Mountain Jazz Band and August 30: Annie and the Orphans. All guest concerts will be held in the fire station in case of rain. Visit the Center Harbor Parks and Recreation at www.centerharbornh.org for information.
The Friends of the Wolfeboro Community Bandstand will present a season of concerts in the park each Saturday in July and August in the bandstand in Cate Park in Wolfeboro from 7 to 9 pm. The concerts are free to the public, though a pass-the-bucket offering is taken at intermission for those wishing to support the Friends of the Wolfeboro Community Bandstand, who continue to bring free, quality entertainment to Wolfeboro each summer. The concerts, featuring a variety of musical talent, take place in the pretty gazebo in the park. Boat docking is nearby. Concerts start at 7 pm and the schedule will feature (weather permitting): July 13 – Freese Brothers Big Band; July 20 – Strafford Wind Symphony; July 27 – Studio Two: Beatles Legacy; August 3: New Legacy Swing Band; August 10: Michael Vincent Band; August 17: Seldom Playrights; August 24: Acoustic Radio and August 31 – Yardbird Temple. For information, visit the Friends of the Community Bandstand Facebook page. In the event of bad weather, the concert will be cancelled. A sign will be posted at the park entrance near town docks and updates will be posted at wolfeborobandstand.org.
A free outdoor concert series will be held in Franklin’s Marceau Park on Central Street in July and August. The concerts will entertain area residents and visitors with a great variety of musical styles. This year's lineup includes: July 16, Don Bartenstein; Li’l Penny Band on July 23; Bryan Conway on July 30; Bow Junction on August 6; The Tim & Dave Show on August 13 and Bend the Ride on August 20. All concerts begin at 5 pm. Please bring a blanket or lawn chair for seating. In case of rain, the concerts will move to the Franklin Opera House (City Hall). For more information, contact the Franklin Opera House at 603-934-1901.
(For questions and updates and possible cancellations of concerts, please check with each presenting organization listed in this story.)