These 6 outdoor concert series in the Ames area are free or low-cost this summer
Update: Simon Estes, who was scheduled to be the guest soloist for Ames Municipal Band's concert Thursday, June 2, is unable to perform after he fell at his home and suffered a hip injury, city officials reported Thursday.
It’s time to get your lawn chairs and picnic baskets ready and head out to enjoy music at several free and low-cost outdoor music series this summer.
Three area wineries and two Ames city parks will host live music series this spring and summer.
Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards in Ames, Snus Hill Winery in Madrid and the Cellar at White Oak near Cambridge all feature live music on Sundays, with Snus also hosting bands on Friday nights.
Roosevelt Park is the site for Roosevelt Summer Sundays concerts. Bandshell Park is the site for Ames on the Half Shell on Friday nights in June and Ames Municipal Band concerts every Thursday in June and July.
Ames Municipal Band begins 2022 season Thursday
Simon Estes is more than an internationally renowned bass-baritone — he’s a beloved part of Iowa’s music scene.
Estes often performs with the Ames Municipal Band during one of its concerts each season, and this year he’s the soloist on Thursday for opening night of the concert series.
Estes grew up in Centerville and rose to fame from humble beginnings as the son of a coal miner and the grandson of an enslaved man. He overcame poverty and racism to rise among the ranks of the world’s most popular opera singers.
“I never dreamed as I was growing up that I’d get farther east than maybe Chicago,” Estes told the Ames Tribune in 2017. “And I’ve sung on every continent on the Earth except for the Antarctic — the penguins haven’t invited me yet.”
The municipal band is under the direction of Michael Golemo, who is in his 20th year leading the Ames Municipal Band. He also serves as the director of bands at Iowa State University.
The hourlong concerts are free of charge and start at 8 p.m. at Bandshell Park, which is located at the corner of Duff Avenue and Sixth Street.
Concerts will feature popular music, light classical, hymns and marches, as well as music from movies and Broadway.
Although there is some seating in the park, audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.
The 2022 guest soloists are:
- June 2 — Ames City Council Night. Vocal soloist, Simon Estes.
- June 9 — Flag Day Ceremony. Vocal soloist, Mindy Phomvisay. Trumpet soloist, Justin Smiley-Oyen.
- June 16 — Vocal soloist, Cathy Compton.
- June 23 — Vocal soloist, Katharine Hensley. Trombone soloist, Nathan Dishman.
- June 30 — Patriotic Concert and Veterans’ Recognition. Vocal soloist, Chad Sonka.
- July 7 — Vocal soloist, Chris Johnson. Saxophone soloist, Mike Giles.
- July 14 — Vocal soloist, Miles Morgan.
- July 21 — Vocal soloist, Jennifer Rodgers.
- July 28 — Vocal soloist, Denver Bierman.
Ames on the Half Shell is ‘happy hour for a good cause’
The Ames Jaycees host Ames on the Half Shell with live music in Bandshell Park every Friday through the end of June.
The Jaycees have dubbed the event “happy hour for a good cause” because proceeds are used to support the group’s projects and community events.
Admission is $5. Food and beverages are available for purchase, with different food trucks attending each week. Kids are welcome at the family-friendly events as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Concerts are held from 5 to 8 p.m. every Friday, with the following lineup of bands and food trucks.
- June 3 — Stranger Than Fiction. Food truck, Macubana.
- June 10 — Project TDSS. Food truck, Weinie Wonderland & Smoke Shack.
- Jun 17 — The Rag Doll Incident. Food trucks, Carlos Quesadillas and Crazy Lou’s.
- June 24 — Burnin’ Sensations. Food trucks, Smiles & Gyros and Kona Ice.
Prairie Moon admission comes with a sangria
Musicians perform on the Corn Crib stage at Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer.
Admission is $5, which includes one glass of sangria. There are wine, beer, sangria and some nonalcoholic drinks for sale, and brick-oven pizzas and charcuterie boards for hungry concertgoers. Visitors can also bring their own food and nonalcoholic drinks, but outside alcohol is not allowed.
The winery is located north of Ames at 3801 W. 190th St.
The family-friendly concerts are held from 3 to 6 p.m., with the following lineup of performers.
- June 5 — Opus Taylor
- June 12 — Burnin' Sensations
- June 19 — Babers
- June 26 — Larry Myer
- July 10 — Vinyl Vagabonds
- July 17 — Jesse & the Medicine Men
- July 24 — Dan Jones & Friends
- July 31 — Ryne Doughty
- Aug. 7 — Burnin’ Sensations
- Aug. 14 — Vannesa's Band
- Aug. 21 — Dueling Pianos
- Aug. 28 — Old School
- Sept. 4 — Stranger than Fiction
- Sept. 11 — Emile
- Sept. 18 — Vinyl Vagabonds
- Sept. 25 — Damon Dotson
Snus Hill Winery has concerts on Fridays and Sundays
Snus Hill Winery offers free admission to its outdoor summer concerts, which are held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and 2 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The winery has a variety of wine, beer, soda and water for sale, and there’s often a food truck onsite during concerts. Outside food and nonalcoholic drinks are allowed, but don’t bring any outside alcohol.
Snus Hill is located at 2183 320th St., Madrid.
The winery will be closed to the public this weekend but starts back with concerts on June 10.
- June 10 — The Soul Searchers
- June 12 — Jimmy The Weasel
- June 17 — Old School
- June 19 — Fat Tuesday
- June 26 — Burnin' Sensations
- July 1 — The Rag Doll Incident
- July 3 — The Cherrypickers
- July 8 — The Soul Searchers
- July 10 — iNFUZiON
- July 15 — Nice Bangs
- July 17 — Burnin' Sensations
- July 24 — Old School
- July 29 — The Drama Kings
- July 31 — Vinyl Vagabonds
- Aug. 5 — Stranger Than Fiction
- Aug. 7 — The Soul Searchers
- Aug. 14 — Tropical Party with steel drum band Tropical Steel
- Aug. 19 — iNFUZiON
- Aug. 21 — Burnin' Sensations
- Aug. 28 — Slipstream
- Sept. 4 — The Cherrypickers
- Sept. 11 — Vinyl Vagabonds
- Sept. 18 — Burnin' Sensations
Roosevelt Summer Sundays offer free concerts at the city park
Now in its 19th season, Roosevelt Summer Sundays are free concerts held at Roosevelt Park each Sunday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. through the end of August.
Located at Ninth Street and Roosevelt Avenue, the Ames city park was the Roosevelt Elementary School playground before the school closed about 20 years ago.
At the time of the school closing, the Friends of Roosevelt Park petitioned the city to keep the green space as a park. The nonprofit group supports the Roosevelt Summer Sundays series through donations. Free-will donations are also collected at the concerts.
Alcohol and tobacco are not allowed in the park, but concertgoers are welcome to bring food and nonalcoholic beverages.
The rain location is 130 S. Sheldon Ave.
- June 5 — Vinyl Vagabonds
- June 12 — Avey Grouws Band
- June 19 — Sumpin' Doo
- June 26 — Randy Burk & the Prisoners
- July 3 — Slice the Sky
- July 10 — Molly Nova & the Hawk featuring Bryce Janey
- July 17 — David Zollo & the Body Electric
- July 24 — Des Funk
- July 31 — The Soul Searchers
- Aug. 7 — King Wylde
- Aug. 14 — Iowa No Mountain Boys
- Aug. 21 — Son Peruchos
- Aug. 28 — Bob Dorr & Friends featuring Jeff Petersen
The Cellar at White Oak features a Sunday Music Series
Located in rural Cambridge, the Cellar at White Oak is holding a Sunday Music Series this summer, with bands playing from 4 to 7 p.m.
Established in 2015 by John Barber and Barb Hokel, the winery's address is 15065 NE White Oak Drive.
Wine, sangria, beer, nonalcoholic drinks and food will be available for purchase. Outside food and nonalcoholic drinks are allowed, but outside alcohol is prohibited.
In case of inclement weather, the concerts will be held indoors.
The winery opens at 1 p.m. on Sundays for its normal business hours. A $5 cover charge begins at 3 p.m.
- June 5 — Avey Grouws Band
- June 12 — iNFUZiON
- June 19 — Royce Johns
- June 26 — Old School
- July 17 — Ritch Henderson & MarDe Brooks
- July 24 — Avey Grouws Band
- Aug. 7 — The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
- Aug. 28 — Cover That