Music guide: Best outdoor summer concert series at Lexington parks, amphitheaters

·6 min read

With the weather getting warmer, Lexington parks, amphitheaters and other public gathering spaces will be filled with locals in lawn chairs enjoying live music.

After some COVID pauses over the past couple of years, many long-cherished concert series like Thursday Night Live, Southland Jamboree and the Tahlsound Concert Series are returning to their outdoor homes around town with performances from some of the city and region’s best musical talent.

To get you prepared, we’ve compiled a guide and list of the best outdoor summer concert series. These Lexington shows offer free of admission throughout the spring and summer months. Just remember to bring your own seat.

Big Band & Jazz Series at Moondance Amphitheater, Ecton Park

The City of Lexington’s Big Band & Jazz Series returned on May 17 at 7 p.m. with music from the Young At Heart Band. Shows will take place every Tuesday night through Aug. 9 with all shows prior to June 28 being held at Moondance Amphitheater, 1152 Monarch St., and those after taking place at Ecton Park, 956 Turkey Foot Rd. Other performers throughout the summer will include the Bluegrass Area Jazz Ambassadors (May 31), Miles Osland’s Little Big Band with Vince DiMartino (July 5) and Uncle Sam’s Bait Shop (Aug. 2).

Lexington’s Big Band & Jazz shifts to Ecton Park on July 5.
Lexington’s Big Band & Jazz shifts to Ecton Park on July 5.

Big Band & Jazz Series schedule

At Moondance Amphitheater

May 24: The MetroGnomes

May 31: Bluegrass Area Jazz Ambassadors

June 7: DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra

June 14: Walnut Street Ramblers

June 21: Brass Impact

June 28: Lexington Summer Concert Band

At Ecton Park

July 5: Miles Osland’s Little Big Band with Vince DiMartino

July 12: Brett Evans Trombone Jazz Ensemble

July 19: Ozmosis

July 26: Tim Lake and the Blue Jazz Persuaders

Aug. 2: Uncle Sam’s Bait Shop

Aug. 9: Osland/Dailey Jazztet

Greater Gardenside Community Music Festival

New to the local summer festival scene in 2022 is the Greater Gardenside Community Music Festival coming to Garden Springs Park, 2005 Dogwood Dr., on May 21 from 12-6 p.m. The inaugural event will include musical performances from the Lexington Music Education Rock School Bands, The Voodoo Dolls with the Central Kentucky Blues Society Youth Band, Cane Run Bluegrass Band and The Rounders. There will also be concessions, a bounce house and other kid’s games on site.

Northside Nights concerts at Castlewood Park

After being at two venues in 2021, the Northside Nights concert series will move exclusively back to Castlewood Park, 201 Castlewood Dr., for this summer’s collection of shows kicking off on May 27 at 6:30 p.m. with music from Honeychild. Shows will take place every other Thursday evening through Aug. 12. Other performers include Positive Movement (June 10), One Sound (Aug. 5) and two acts yet to be confirmed.

Northside Nights schedule

May 27: Honeychild

Jun 10: Positive Movement

Jun 24: Special Sessions

July 8: Benny J. & Friends

July 22: Elite 7

Aug. 5: One Sound

Aug. 19: TBA

Sep. 2: TBA

Southland Jamboree at Moondance Amphitheater

Beloved weekly bluegrass gathering Southland Jamboree will settle into its new home at Moondance Amphitheater for an eighth season, and 17th overall, on June 2 with a performance from Jim Hurst. The concerts will take place every Thursday night at 7 p.m. through Sept. 1, with the following week reserved as a rain make-up date. Other shows include Wolfpen Branch (June 30), Alan Bibey & Grasstowne (July 28) and Ida Clare (Aug. 18).

Southland Jamboree schedule

June 2: Jim Hurst Bluegrass Band

June 9: Fast Track

June 16: Blue Eagle Band

June 23: Custom Made Bluegrass

June 30: Wolfpen Branch

July 7: Maddie Murray and Darren Wasson Band

July 14: Hammertowne

July 21: Cane Run Bluegrass

July 28: Alan Bibey & Grasstowne

Aug. 4: Olde Towne Project

Aug. 11: Don Rigsby

Aug. 18: Ida Clare

Aug. 25: New Coon Creek Girls Reunion

Sept. 1: Fenced In

Summer Nights in Suburbia will take to the Moondance Amphitheater stage every other Friday starting June 3.
Summer Nights in Suburbia will take to the Moondance Amphitheater stage every other Friday starting June 3.

Summer Nights In Suburbia at Moondance Amphitheater

Also at Moondance Amphitheater is Summer Nights in Suburbia. The concert series will take the Beaumont neighborhood stage every other Friday from 7-9 p.m. between June 3 and Aug. 26. Performers will include former “American Idol” contestant Lauren Mink (June 17), the charismatic Brother Smith (July 15) and Nashville based rockers DeeOhGee (Aug. 12) according to Celeste Lewis of Lexington Parks & Recreation.

Summer Nights In Suburbia schedule

June 3: DJ Rice Band

June 17: Lauren Mink Band

July 1: Bedford Band

July 15: Brother Smith

July 29: Honeychild

Aug. 12: DeeOhGee

Aug. 26: NVRMND

Swingin’ On Main at Triangle Park

Lexington Parks & Recreation, the Arthur Murray Dance Studio and the Hepcats Swing Dance Club are once again teaming up to host Swingin’ On Main, a free event that includes swing dancing lessons, a dance competition and music from Big Time Operator. The event will take place on June 4 at 7 p.m. at Triangle Park, 400 W Main St.

The Tahlsound Concert Series takes place on the Great Lawn located behind the Temple.
The Tahlsound Concert Series takes place on the Great Lawn located behind the Temple.

Tahlsound Concert Series on the Oleika Great Lawn

The Tahlsound Concert Series returned to the Oleika Great Lawn, 302 Southland Dr., on April 24 at 5 p.m. with music from The Local Honeys and Derek Spencer. The series includes six shows on the fourth Sunday of every month through September. If COVID-19 numbers improve, event director Seth Murphy says that the shows will move from the pod seating of the pandemic era to general admission seating this summer. Admission is a “pay what you wish” donation or $200 for a table for six and exclusive show poster. 302 Southland Dr.

Tahlsound schedule

May 22: Magnolia Boulevard, The Jenkins Twins

June 26: TBA

July 24: TBA

Aug. 28: TBA

Sept. 25: TBA

Thursday Night Live at Fifth Third Bank Pavilion

Thursday Night Live returned to the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion, 251 W Main St., on April 7 with music from Cherry Bomb. The event will be every Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. through Oct. 13 and is free. Upcoming shows include Lauren Mink (May 19), Nightflyer: The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band (June 30), The Big Maracas (Aug. 4) and Rebel Without a Cause (Sept. 22).

Thursday Night Live schedule

May 19: Lauren Mink

May 26: Ward Haydon & The Outliers

June 2: Five Below Band

June 9: Paul Childers

June 16: The Johnson Brothers

June 23: 64 West

June 30: Nightflyer: The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band

July 7: Honeychild

July 14: The Ranahans

July 21: Boogie G & The Titanics

July 28: Encore of Lexington

Aug. 4: The Big Maracas

Aug. 11: Tim Talbert Project

Aug. 18: The Twiggenburys

Aug. 25: Kenny Owens & Group Therapy

Sept. 1: Mercy Men

Sept. 8: The Binders

Sept. 15: Canvas

Sept. 22: Rebel Without A Cause

Sept. 29: Superfecta

Oct. 6: Mojo Tones

Oct. 13: TBA

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