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. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

  2. Lafayette Square, Washington Square should be turned into office parks with office buildings, conversion, no access to the public at all. They should not be shopping malls and should be under tight security and used for professional offices instead of havens for crime. Their only useage is to do this or tear them down and replace them with high rise office parks with secured parking lots so that the crime in the areas is not allowed in. These are prime properties, but must be reused for other uses, professional office conversions with no loitering and no shopping makes sense, otherwise they have become hangouts long ago for gangs, groups of people who have no intent of spending money, and are only there for trouble and possibly crime, shoplifting, etc. I worked summers at SuperX Drugs in Lafayette Square in the 1970s and even then the shrinkage from shoplifting was 10-15 percent. No sense having shopping malls in these areas, they earn no revenue, attract crime, and are a blight on the city. All malls that are not of use should be repurposed or torn down by the city, condemned. One possibility would be to repourpose them as inside college campuses or as community centers, but then again, if the community is high crime, why bother.

  3. Straight No Chaser

  4. Seems the biggest use of TIF is for pet projects that improve Quality Of Life, allegedly, but they ignore other QOL issues that are of a more important and urgent nature. Keep it transparent and try not to get in ready, fire, Aim! mode. You do realize that business the Mayor said might be interested is probably going to want TIF too?

  5. Gary, I'm in complete agreement. The private entity should be required to pay IPL, and, if City parking meters are involved, the parking meter company. I was just pointing out how the poorly-structured parking meter deal affected the car share deal.