The 2020 Concerts in the Park Summer Music Series kicked off June 30 with the Rockin Hollywoods playing to a large crowd in Central Park.

“Concerts in the Park is a summer staple in our community. It’s a wonderful time for our community to come together and enjoy a beautiful night in a great setting at Central Park,” said North Branch Community Education Director Brett Carlson. “We’re so grateful for the partnership and collaboration of the city in bringing great talent to our community.”

The event is product of a partnership between North Branch Area Community Education and the North Branch Arts Group, who came together to organize this summer’s lineup.

“The events were possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund,” said Nate Sondrol, North Branch GIS planning specialist.

Despite concerns over whether or not crowds would be able to gather in the masses, the city prepared their lineup while awaiting directions from the governor, and when given the go-ahead, the city wasted no time to announce the start of the series, which was well received by the community.

“We had been holding out as late as possible on making a decision on moving forward with the events. We had received significant community feedback on the desire to have the events and get back to some sort of normalcy,” Sondrol said. “After the governor’s announcement of allowing up to 250 people at outdoor events, we continued the planning efforts by working closely with the performers, ECRAC, and following direction and guidance from the Chisago County Emergency Management Department, the governor’s office and CDC guidelines to be able to host the events.

“The events have been modified to include CDC recommendations, including social distancing guidelines, and are not including the yard games, bouncy house and water features that have been provided in the past,” Sondrol added.

Up next in the lineup is Andy Spofford on July 14, offering a mix of classic county and rock, and the Sweethearts Dinner Band on July 21 with alternative rock from then and now. Both performances will be held at 7 p.m. in Central Park.

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