Despite many summer events being canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cities of Dardenne Prairie, O’Fallon and St. Peters chose to continue some of the community’s most well-loved and attended free concert events of the season. With a renewed focus on safety, all it took was a little creativity to keep the area’s concerts going strong throughout the summer months.
The Dardenne Prairie Summer Concert and Food Truck Rally series kicked off on May 17, featuring The Plastic Kings. Dardenne Prairie Mayor David Zucker estimates that around 300 to 400 people attended. On June 19, Dr. Zhivegas drew an equally large crowd.
Butch Wax and the Hollywoods perform on July 17 and Trixie Delight wraps up the concert series on Aug. 21.
“We determined that it was time to resume normal activities,” Zucker said of starting up the concert series in May. “We hired a crew to continuously clean the restrooms throughout the [concerts] and we are urging people to observe social distancing.”
After making the decision in early May to cancel O’Fallon’s most attended event of the year – The Heritage & Freedom Fest held each Fourth of July, the city decided to keep its concert series alive albeit with some significant changes. The choice was made to cancel the first couple of O’Fallon Jammin’ concerts in May; then, move the June line-up to the CarShield Field parking lot and make the rest of the series a drive-in concert experience, allowing for easier social distancing.
The first drive-in concert on June 15 was a big success. The city estimates that approximately 200 cars, or about 600 to 700 people attended, which is roughly equivalent to a smaller O’Fallon Jammin’ concert in a typical summer.
O’Fallon Jammin’ continues on July 14 with Queens Blvd. and food concessions from Rendezvous Cafe, Kona Ice, Udderly Moolicious, Savor the Southwest and more. No Diggity, a hip-hop and R&B band will perform on July 21 with added concessions from Sugarfire Smokehouse and Doughboys. Powerplay performs on July 28, followed by Dirty Mugs on Aug. 4 and the Elton John tribute band, Dogs of Society, on Aug. 11.
“We will continue to practice social distancing at all events and masks are recommended,” Tom Drabelle, O’Fallon’s communications director, said. “We know how much our community enjoys the summer concerts so we made sure to keep them going, but the most important thing right now is to keep everyone healthy.”
He urged would-be concertgoers, “If you’re not feeling well, please do not attend.”
The city of St. Peters has had two summers in a row where last minute changes to its popular Sunset Fridays concert series had to be made. Last year, due to flooding at 370 Lakeside Park, the city took the concerts “On the Road.” This year, the “On the Road” moniker developed an entirely new meaning as “Sunset Fridays On the Road” went virtual.
The virtual concert series premiered on May 15 and continues each Friday at 6:30 p.m. through July 17. Available on any internet-connected device, residents are able to watch the concerts “live” at STPVnow.net, Charter Spectrum Channel 992 or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.
The performances are pre-recorded at the city’s Cultural Arts Centre’s Performing Arts Theater, where the bands practice social distancing while recording. Then, those recordings are aired “live” on their designated Friday so that everyone watching can experience the Sunset Friday concert together.
Each concert also is available on-demand at SPTVnow.net after it airs.
Upcoming concerts include Two Pedros (Acoustic) on June 26, Serapis on July 3, Two Pedros on July 10 and a Best of Sunset Fridays feature on July 17.
“The change has been really well received by the community and the musicians are very happy since they aren’t getting a lot of work right now due to COVID, so it’s definitely a win-win for everyone involved,” St. Peters Communications Director Lisa Bedian said.