Large crowd kicks off downtown Vancouver summer concert series

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social services, demographics, faith



 Photo Gallery: Six to Sunset

The annual Six to Sunset concert series kicks off at Esther Short Park.

Summer concerts, movies

Six to Sunset concerts (6 to 8 p.m.)

July 12: Hit Machine (hits from the 70s/80s).

July 19: Patrick Lamb Band.

July 26: Stone in Love (Journey Tribute).

Aug. 2: Petty Fever (Tom Petty Tribute).

Aug. 9: Radical Revolution (80s music revolt).

Terry Lee Noon Hour Concerts(Noon to 1 p.m.)

July 11: The Shwing Daddies.

July 18: Justin Klump.

July 25: Key of Dreams.

Aug. 1: JVA.

Aug. 7: Aaron Meyer.

Aug. 15: The New Iberians.

Friday Night Movies at Esther Short Park (dusk)

July 6: "School of Rock."

July 13: "Jurassic Park."

July 20: "WALL-E."

Friday Night Movies at LeRoy Haagen Community Park (dusk)

July 27: "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Strange Tides."

Aug. 3: "E.T."

Walking through Esther Short Park at 6 p.m. on a summer Thursday night, chances are you'll see a sea of people on blankets and lawn chairs. You'll smell kettle corn, catch kids dancing, and even blocks away you'll hear the faint sounds of summertime jams — typically songs from the 60s and 70s.

The Riverview Six to Sunset concert series is celebrating its 26th year of music. About 5,000 people packed into the downtown park for the first of six free Thursday evening concerts this summer.

Any stranger to the concert series should make sure to get to the park early to find a good seat.

"We had people coming in at 3 o'clock with their chairs and blankets," said Stacy Donovan, special events manager for the city of Vancouver.

The Beatles tribute band Abbey Road Live!, described by band member Dave Domizi as "the Beatles with a pulse," kicked off the series. Concertgoers hopped up to dance and sing along to the first song, "Back in the U.S.S.R."

The series mostly features Northwest acts.

"As the only local community bank in Clark County, we take it seriously, giving back," said Scott Miller, senior vice president of marketing at Riverview Community Bank, the lead sponsor of the series.

And that's not the only thing that's local.

Ride your bike to the park and you'll find bike parking, compliments of Bike Clark County. If you get hungry, you have plenty of local food vendors to choose from, including Ice Cream Renaissance and Tommy O's. Oh, and if you buy any brews from the park pub, all of the proceeds will go to the Fort Vancouver National Trust.

"I'm from California. They don't do things like this there," said Randy Godwin, 48, who recently moved to Vancouver. "I wish they had this everywhere."

As usual, rules forbid skateboarding, rollerskating, camping, fireworks, barbecues, alcohol and firearms. You used to be allowed to smoke in the perimeter of the park during these summertime events, but this year the park is completely smoke-free.

Parking is available at the Park n' Go next to Esther Short and downtown street parking is free after 6 p.m.

In addition to Thursday concerts, Esther Short also hosts the free Terry Lee Noon Concerts and Friday Night Movies in the Park.

"The only way we can put on these events is through the sponsorships," Donovan of the city of Vancouver said.

Riverview Community Bank has been the primary sponsor of the Thursday concerts for 13 years with contributions from Waste Connections, The Columbian, Corwin Beverage Company and Destination Downtown. The hourlong noontime concerts are sponsored by Vancouver attorney Terry Lee.