Free outdoor concerts return to Fall River Parks

FALL RIVER — The free summer concert series that launched last year to bring neighbors together during the pandemic is back, with plans to involve twice as many local parks as last summer.

“Last year, coming out of COVID, we wanted to get people out in neighborhoods and that was a resounding success,” Patrick Norton, executive director of the Narrows Center for the Arts, told a news conference. at Griffin Park on Wednesday to officially announce the 2022 “Summer Nights in the Park” series of events.

The Narrows is one of the program’s sponsors, along with the City of Fall River, Bristol County Savings Bank, Viva Fall River and Greater Fall River Re-Creation.

Norton described the concerts as “holistic” events which, along with live music, will include free arts and crafts for kids, free hot dogs and burgers and a free bag of groceries for each family. who attends. He expects about 500 people at each concert, he said.

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Mayor Paul Coogan, Patti Rego, Executive Director Viva Fall River, Patrick Murray, President and CEO of Bristol County Savings Bank and Patrick Norton, Executive Director Narrows Center for the Arts, talk about the return of "Summer evenings in the park" Wednesday.  Events will alternate between city parks, with the first starting in Griffin Park on July 6.

Musical acts will include the New Orleans-inspired Southcoast Brass Band, the Marcus Monteiro Trio and the Dirty Water Brass Band.

Last summer, eight concerts took place in four different parks. This year it has expanded to include eight parks across the city that will each see a concert in July or August.

“This is a partnership to make Fall River a better place to live,” Mayor Paul Coogan said at Wednesday’s press conference. “These things (last summer) were exciting, they were dynamic and they had a lot of activity.”

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Patrick Murray, president and CEO of Bristol County Saving Bank, which is contributing $10,000 to the program, touted the concerts as a bright spot during a time of increased isolation due to the pandemic and added stress from the price increase.

“It’s exciting to know that free, high-quality entertainment is literally going to kick off here in a few weeks,” he said.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Paul Coogan was joined by representatives from the Narrows Center for the Arts, Bristol County Savings Bank and Greater Fall River Re-Creation to announce the return of

Corky Row Neighborhood Association President Mark Conrad pointed out that Griffin Park, the location of Wednesday’s press conference and the series’ first concert, was the site of a fatal shooting that rocked the Corky neighborhood. Row last May. The concert series, he said, shows that the interest of neighbors and city leaders in continuing to strengthen the community after the shooting has not waned.

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Anyone who says nothing good is happening in the region is wrong, he said.

“There’s something happening all the time that shows the real soul of the city and how awesome it is,” he said.

Events each start at 5:30 p.m. and will continue until 8 p.m.

Wednesday, July 6: Griffin Park

Wednesday, July 13: Pulaski Park

Wednesday July 20: Poulos Park

Wednesday, July 27: Ruggles Park

Wednesday, August 3: Kennedy Park

Wednesday, August 10: Lafayette Park

Wednesday August 17: Abbott Court Playground

Wednesday, August 24: North Park

Audrey Cooney can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.