Concerts: the great outdoors?

May 29, 2008
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This week, Sheryl Crow launches the season for the Lawn at White River State Park and Eric Clapton plays Verizon Wireless Music Center.

It seems an appropriate time for you to offer what you see as the pros and cons of Indy's outdoor music venues.

And while these two offer the biggest acts, feel free to also opine on the facilities at Conner Prairie, the Indiana Historical Society, the IMA, the State Fairgrounds, and the various parks, wineries, and whatevers that are offering music under the stars.

Your thoughts?
  • With DST in the eastern time zones, the sunsets are usually right in many viewers eyes for the beginning of show at both WRSP and VWMC.

    VWMC, as most anyone who has been there knows, is a nightmare to get in and out of. Would like to ride a bike to the show, but leaving at dark, riding on those narrow country roads with a bunch of drivers in altered states is not such a good idea!
  • I love outdoor concerts! My favortite thing to do in the summer is to go to Symphony on the Prairie. It's so wonderful to sit out and hear that beautiful music with a glass of wine.

    I haven't been to the Lawn yet. There haven't been any shows tempting enough.

    Also ticket prices are getting really absurd! I am really selective about who I'll pay to see. Especially since Ticketmaster has such high convenience fees. I used to work at a Karma many years ago. The TM fee was around $2-3 per ticket. It was convenient because you didn't have to go to the box office. When the Eagle reunion concert came around and they were charging $75 I think for lawn seats, the TM fee was NOT disclosed on the ticket. I really think the higher fees started there. The last concert I went to, I saved over $20 on two tickets by driving to the box office.

    We're debating on a concert at Verizon this summer. The fee per ticket is around $15! I think those fees are really going to effect how many people are willing to shell out the money to go to shows in the future, especially if they get any higher.

    Sorry, for the tangent, but those fees really bug me!
  • The parking lot at Verizon is keeping me away from shows there nowadays. When I used to go, sometimes it would take over an hour to get out to the road. I didn't get to any shows on the lawn at WRSP last summer, but I hope to this year.
  • With all the road construction down out at Verizon the time to get in and out is much better this year. I was at Tim McGraw and stayed until the last song. Was out of the regular parking lot in 45 minutes. I had some friends go to MayDay the next day and for that sell out show they waited no longer then an hour to leave the place. I'd say much more improved then in past years for a sell out show. Too bad the City of Noblesville hasn't expanded more of the roads around this great outdoor venue.

    I agree, the ticket prices and fees are getting way out of hand. Makes it very hard to see any concerts at any venue.
  • Yes, many of the concert fees are high. However, there are free concerts all summer at the MacAllister Center, with real seats, don't have to sit on the grass unless you choose to, in Garfield Park. The free Indy Parks Pops Series takes place every Thursday at 7:00. May 29, June 5, 12, 19 - Indy Philharmonic Orchestra. June 26 - FREE - AMERICA WE REMEMBER with Indy Jazz Orchestra, Gordon Pipers, the Wright Brothers and spectacular fireworks, July 10 Anthenaeum Orchestra. On July 15 the Indianapolis Symphony will give their free concert. July 17 Municipal Band, July 24 Pride Band
    July 31 Municipal Band, Aug. 7 Indy Jazz Orchestra, 14 New Horizons Band,21 Athenaeum Orchestra and 28 Indianapolis Symphonic Band. So there are FREE CONCERTS IN INDY. ENJOY.

    Also Music in the Gardens takes place in the Sunken Garden in Garfield Park - also free - June 14 - 6:30 Brenda Williams, July 19 - 6:30 Indy Jazz Orchestra, August 16 at the Mac 7:00 Cathy Morris
  • We may not have Verizon Music Center to complain about too many more years,
    but there will always be those pesky convenience charges indoors or out.

    Outdoor summer concerts can be great events but we go to few of the major
    attractions anymore because of the steep prices and other fees. We got to really
    like the concert. Glad there are some affordable alternatives.
  • I saw Allison Krause at WRSP last summer, it was our first trip to the venue for a big concert. The weather was perfect and I was pleasantly surprised at the accoustics. The big downer was the port-o-potties which are vile even when they are clean. Otherwise it is a wonderful venue with plenty of places to visit on foot before or after the show. I also saw a few shows at Verizon last year and I'm not a fan. The parking, the waiting, the drive, the prices..... Not unless Led Zepplin plays there will I be making another trip to Nob City to visit that venue any time soon. I will make an effort to visit the smaller, local music scene this summer, I promise.
  • This year I think if you car pool with at least 4 people in a car - you get first priority parking and first priority to leave. This is what I read in an article about Verizon wireless going more eco/envio friendly. In addition to having recycling bins, recycled paper, and I think the deal applies to hybrids as well. Not sure about that.
  • My wife and I went to Tim McGraw last week and had a great time at Verizon. We got right in and right out. It seems like all of the new roads and construction over the past few years really helped. If you haven't been out that way lately, you should check it out. There has been a ton of improvements.
  • Mike: are you sure that is the case for any show? I read that is the case for Radiohead but haven't found where it applies to other shows.

    For Radiohead's Aug. 3 date at Verizon, the U.K. rock band is setting aside preferred parking spaces for fans who arrive in hybrid vehicles or in vehicles carrying five or more passengers.
  • Doe,

    Speak for yourself. As far as DST, that is one of the best decisions Indiana has made in recent years. A little sun in your eyes for a few minutes is nothing, throw on some sunglasses or be thankful the sun is shining in the first place. Verizon is cake to get into if you go the right way (hint: it is NOT I-69 to the 238 Exit, that is the last way to go).

    You can buy those parking packages for most shows I believe, but as far as the hybrid thing that might be unique to just a few bands.

    Verizon needs to be saved. It is a great landmark for Indy and a solid place to see a show.

    Same for White River. Nice to have options and 2 unique venues of different size and layout.

    To Bryan: Um, 238 to 146th had a major multi-million dollar expansion and the 238 exit just finished off a huge upgrade as well. The back entrance to Verizon was also upgraded. Because they haven't upgraded all roads, doesn't mean they haven't put a lot of money into nearby roads.
  • If you have never done Concerts on the Prairie--this is the year to try it out. They have something for nearly everyone's taste and the price is right for the entire family to go and experience great music. Buy tickets ahead and save a few dollars! Most evenings are beautiful weather, you can take your own refreshments as complicated or simple as you prefer. People watching is almost as much fun as the concert, and the Fisher's police force gets you in and out in a jiffy. We've been season ticket holders for many years--for less than $200 you can see all the concerts with a friend which is a fraction of the price of most live music and you're hearing (and supporting) a world class orchestra. Parking is free!

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.