For some, nothing says summertime like flip flops, sand and the boardwalk. For others, summer is synonymous with lawn chairs, picnic baskets and live music. Fortunately, for the latter, countless outdoor summer concert series across Maryland— and several just a short drive from APG— are free of charge, family-friendly and sure to please local music lovers.
Bel Air Summer Concert Series
The Bel Air Summer Concert Series features local favorites like the Bel Air Community Band and the Upper Chesapeake Chorus, as well as well as some premier U.S. military groups like the Maryland Defense Force Band, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, and the 229th Maryland Army National Guard Band.
The free concert series is sponsored by the Town of Bel Air through the Bel Air Recreation Committee, and was started by former local businessman, Bill Humbert, about 50 years ago.
The concert series takes place at 39 North Hickory Avenue, next to the Bel Air Library. The Bel Air Summer Concert Series is held 7 to 8:15 p.m., Wednesday and Sunday evenings through Aug. 13 at Shamrock Park near the Bel Air Library. In the event of extreme heat or rain, the concerts will be held in the Bel Air High School auditorium. For more information, call 410-803-9784.
Jazz Summer Series
The Women’s Challenge, or TWC, a local non-profit organization, will host a jazz summer series in various Harford County locations. The next concert, featuring Phase II with Nia Simmons, will be held 7 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, June 23 at Aberdeen Festival Park. Festivities start 6 p.m.
Lorraine Bailey-Carter, TWC founder, said attending a jazz concert is a great way to relax on the weekend and she hopes the events will bring the community together in a positive way.
“We connect ourselves to music because it happens to be that one conduit that can help us to free ourselves,” she said.
Tickets are $30 for all ages; food and drinks will be available for purchase. Information about upcoming concerts will be advertised on http://womenschallenge.net/.
Groovin’ in the Grass
Ladew Topiary Gardens, in far western Harford County, has hosted a summer concert series for more than 25 years. The family-friendly series kicks-off Father’s Day, June 18, with the Crawdaddies, a unique band that “combines Louisiana’s Cajun, zydeco, blues sound with North Eastern roots rock.”
“A wide variety of bands perform in Ladew’s beautiful Great Bowl, with a spectacular backdrop of topiary sculpture and hedges,” said Julie Fader Gilbert, a marketing representative for Ladew Topiary Gardens. “And Ladew’s award-winning gardens are open to concert attendees for touring.”
Gilbert added that this year, concert attendees can visit a special sculpture exhibit by award-winning sculptor, Mary Ann Mears on display in the Wildflower Meadow, Butterfly House, courtyard, and Berry Garden, through Oct. 31.
The concert series is held 6 to 8 p.m. each Sunday, June 18 to Aug. 6. Tickets are $15 for adults; $13 for seniors ages 62 and older and students; $5 for children 12 and younger; free for ages 0-2. Tickets can be purchased through the Ladew Topiary Gardens website, http://www.ladewgardens.com.
Ladew Topiary Gardens is located at 3535 Jarrestsville Pike in Monkton, Maryland. Attendees are welcome to bring picnics; food and refreshments are also available for purchase during the event. For more information, call 410-557-9570.
Shop and Eat to the Beat
THE AVENUE at White Marsh, in Baltimore County, offers a summer concert series called “Shop and Eat to the Beat,” 7 to 9 p.m., each Friday and Saturday through Labor Day weekend. The series features a variety of music including country, funk, pop, Celtic rock, R&B and reggae.
The series is dog friendly, and a dog water station is located near the venue. Attendees can purchase food at the restaurants and eateries located in THE AVENUE, outside food is not permitted. Visitors are welcome to bring blankets, but not chairs. Chairs are available for rent and all proceeds go to Perry Hall High School.
For more information, visit http://www.theavenueatwhitemarsh.com/events/detail/avenue-live-shop-eat-beat/.
Historic London Town and Gardens Concert Series
Historic London Town and Gardens, near Annapolis, offers a free concert series in the scenic ornamental gardens overlooking the South River.
“We have a great lineup of bands, with everything from classic rock to folk to Caribbean in style,” said Lauren Silberman, the deputy director of Historic London Town and Gardens.
Another draw, Silberman said, is the concerts are dog friendly. The first concert of the season, July 30, is “Dog Night,” and will feature a “pupcession” stand with treats from the Dogwood Acres Pet Retreat, a concert sponsor.
According to Silberman, the concert series attendance has grown dramatically.
“Five years ago, maybe only 60 people attended a concert,” she said. “Last year, each concert averaged around 230 people. The number of dogs attendees bring has also grown, which is fun.”
Historic London Town and Gardens is located at 839 Londontown Road in Edgewater, Maryland. The concert series is offered 5 to 7 p.m. each Sunday, July 30 to Aug. 20. For more information visit http: //www.historiclondontown.org/events, or call 410-222-1919.
Quiet Waters Park Concert Series
The Quiet Waters Park Concert Series, in Anne Arundel County, hosts a lineup of popular Baltimore-based bands, like the classic rock band, Great Train Robbery on July 29, and the Kelly Bell Band, a blues-rock group on Aug. 5.
The free concert series is hosted by the Friends of Quiet Waters Park each Saturday, July 8 through Aug. 26. For more information visit http://www.aacounty.org or call 410-222-7300.
Celebrate Frederick Summer Concert Series
The “Celebrate Frederick Summer Concert Series,” is held at Historic Downtown Frederick’s Baker Park Band Shell.
According to Keri Amorosi, with the City of Frederick, the free series has “something for everyone,” and is “a staple event for the community.”
Highlights include performances by the Beatles tribute band Abbey Road LIVE! on June 18, Pennsylvania bluegrass band Mountain Ride, July 16, and Crowded Streets: The Dave Matthews Experience charms rock lovers July 23.
Concert goers can bring a picnic or purchase food from a variety of local food trucks. Attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item in lieu of admission, which will be donated to the Frederick Community Action Agency Food Bank Program.
The concert series is located at 121 N. Bentz Street, and is held 7 to 8:30 p.m., each Sunday, June through August.
For more summer concert series in Maryland, visit www.visitmaryland.org, the official website for Maryland tourism.