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May 2018

Two outdoor St. Paul concert series launch next week, and they’re both free

By ROSS RAIHALA | rraihala@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: May 29, 2018 at 7:30 pm | UPDATED: May 30, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Next week, two popular outdoor St. Paul concert series kick off with a ticket price — free — that can’t be beat.

St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo and Conservatory launches its annual Groovin’ in the Garden series June 6 with the Innocent Reggae Band. Like the rest of the shows, music runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and if it rains, the action moves inside the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

Concertgoers are encouraged to pack a picnic and spread a blanket on the lawn. In addition to the music, there will be kid-friendly activities like a climbing wall and bouncy house.

The rest of the zoo’s lineup includes Flowtus (June 13), Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders (June 20), the April Fools (June 27), Soul Beautiful (July 11), Paddy Wagon (July 18), the Flamin’ Oh’s (July 25) and Alex Rossi Trio (Aug. 1).

Rossi also headlines opening night of the 15th season of Music in Mears on June 7 in Lowertown’s Mears Park. Each Thursday, two local bands will perform from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The park will also feature a rotating series of food trucks as well as a market with goods from local artists.

Hot Date joins Rossi on June 7, followed by Brianna Lane and the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (June 14), Liquid Vinyl and Hornucopia (June 21), Sarah Morris and Chris Koza (June 28), Martin Devaney and Dusty Heart (July 12), Tom, Dick and Harry and Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders (July 19), Latin Billies and Dan Israel (July 26), Brian Just and Jillian Rae (Aug. 2), Har-di-Har and Aby Wolf (Aug. 9), High on Stress and Kind Country (Aug. 16), Lowray and the Twilight Hours (Aug. 23) and Jake Jones and Erik Koskinen (Aug. 30).

For the last two summers, the team behind Music in Mears has also hosted a concert series in Rice Park, but it’s on hold this year due to the park’s $2.2 million renovation, which has left it closed through the fall.

The nearby Landmark Center, though, will stage four free lunchtime concerts in its atrium this summer. JulyDa kicks off the noontime shows June 27. The music continues with Lee Engele (July 11), Kashimana (July 25) and Ghost Wagon (Aug. 8).

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