TribLive: ARP offers busy slate of summer music

Aspinwall Riverfront Park offers busy slate of summer music

Tawnya Panizzi

The Rock the River concert series will kick off June 27 at Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Shown here is a concert from June 30, 2019, when the Shiners took the stage.

Whether it’s a festive Friday evening or a lazy Sunday afternoon, the park will host live bands, drum circles and musical theater to appeal to all ages.

“A core part of the park’s original mission is to create a community treasure,” said Susan Crookston, the park’s executive director. “We hope coming to these free concerts and musical experiences are one of the many wonderful memories people of all ages will make at the park.”

The Rock the River concert series launches from 6 to 9 p.m. June 27. Families are invited to bring a blanket or a lawn chair once a month to listen to free tunes on Octave Hill in West Park.

The concerts premiere with local rock/blues band Good Brother Earl, followed by The Untouchables on July 25 and rounded out with jazz band RML Jazz, featuring Rick Laus, on Aug. 15.

Park Board member Dave Short said accessible music at the park was a priority.

His family continues to provide funding for the concerts because, Short said, “music brings people together like nothing else.”

The park’s venue makes the experience especially enjoyable.

“It’s a great opportunity to enjoy live music in an extraordinary peaceful riverfront setting,” he said.

The park has added smaller concerts to the calendar on certain Friday nights, when live bands will play free for the public on the fishing dock overlook.

The intimate shows kick off July 2 with Tony Campbell’s jazz band, followed by local band The Compadres on Aug. 14 and finishing up with Sons of Margaret on Sept. 3.

“We tried to focus on bands that do a great job with cover songs in addition to their own music,” Short said.

Other specialty events will also focus on music. A monthly drum circle is hosted year-round by local resident Dave Esch.

“The circle is a model for inclusion. Everyone is welcome, and the circle gives everyone an equal voice in creating a beautiful piece of music, which is particularly helpful to those who may not have that voice otherwise,” Esch said.

The group meets next on July 18.

In August, musical theater will be performed at the park, with Riverfront Theater’s production of “Into the Woods.” A spin on traditional fairy tales, the show will be presented in the park’s Welcome Center on Aug. 4-7 and features young artists.

Tickets are available at