The year 2020 was full of doldrums and disappointments, but in 2021 there is hope for better things to come–like listening to live music in a landmark local park–as more progress continues to be made against the COVID-19 virus.
One example of how much progress has already been made in the fight against the disease is the fact that at the latest Hellertown Borough Council meeting, on Jan. 19, the borough’s Music in the Park free summer concert series was on the agenda.
To the dismay of many community members, five scheduled concerts in Dimmick Park were canceled in 2020 due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.
The discussion at the meeting, however, revolved around how organizers are hopeful that Music in the Park will happen this summer and are preparing for all possible obstacles.
Lauren Bertucci and Jessica O’Donnell, of the Affiliated Chambers of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, discussed the current plans for the 2021 concert series, which may need to be adapted due to the ongoing uncertainty related to the pandemic.
The concert dates they have scheduled are on Sundays: June 6, July 11, July 18, Aug. 15, and a possible final event on Aug. 22. O’Donnell and Bertucci said that for this year’s series, the bands booked last year–except for the Nerds, due to their popularity–were given first choice to play at the park in 2021. The other bands scheduled to perform in 2020 were the Large Flowerheads, Sunshine Symphony, Social Call and Craig Thatcher & Nyke Van Wyke. All of them, with the exception of Sunshine Symphony, plan to return.
As of Thursday, the following lineup had been announced:
- Sunday, June 6 – South Penn Dixie
- Sunday, July 11 – Craig Thatcher & Nyke Van Wyke
- Sunday, July 18 – The Large Flowerheads
- Sunday, Aug. 15 – Social Call
O’Donnell and Bertucci told council that all CDC guidelines will be followed and COVID-19 safety measures implemented as necessary in order to help keep concert-goers safe.
“The security measures that we will implement will be dependent on the current situation at that time,” they said. “Measures that could be put into place could include, but are not limited to, social distancing, mask-wearing, additional hand-washing stations, etc.”
A team from OMEGA Protective Services could also play a role in keeping the concerts safe by providing PPE to concert-goers–such as face masks–if necessary.
The chamber representatives said attendance limits–if necessary–will have to be re-evaluated closer to the start of the series. The maximum seating capacity for the concert area is 4,900 people, however, that could be reduced if restrictions are in place.
There will be food vendors at this year’s concerts, however the park pavilion kitchen–which is sometimes staffed by volunteers from local nonprofit organizations–will be closed under the current plan.
“Based on the Borough of Hellertown’s recommendations, we will only be inviting food trucks to the concert series this year,” O’Donnell said. “While we love to support the Borough at the pavilion, the Lions Club, etc., food trucks have a specific set of requirements that they have to follow to be compliant with COVID-19 regulations. Therefore, with the safety of our attendees as our top priority, the Borough and the Chamber felt it was best to limit the event to this type of food vendor.”
Each concert will feature two food trucks and a vendor selling ice cream, with the names of vendors to be announced closer to the first concert date.
“The Borough of Hellertown and Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber realize how much the community looks forward to this series each year,” O’Donnell added. “We will be doing everything possible to host this series, so long as it is still deemed safe to do so at the time of the concerts. We want to provide as much of a sense of normalcy as possible.”
The concerts are sponsored by numerous local businesses, including Saucon Source. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Jessica O’Donnell at 610-573-4010 or je******@le*****************.org.
Follow the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber on Facebook as well as the Borough of Hellertown for future updates about this summer’s concert series.