Summertime music arrives

Now that we're officially past the Memorial Day weekend and we've had our first rainout night (last Friday) of regularly scheduled outdoor gigs, I believe we can safely welcome the summer season. From here until the cold days hit again, it's fairs, festivals, homecomings, shindigs, burgoos, beer gardens, wineries, barbecues and more along with our normal indoor performances, all set to fill our days and nights with fun, food, frolic and oh, that live music.

Let's stick with talking up Thursdays as we've been doing lately, and this one is a biggie with the first Levitt AMP-sponsored concert of our fifth season happening downtown in the open space north of the Governor's Mansion. Every Thursday (including the Fourth of July and a special Juneteenth celebration show) from May 30 through Aug. 1, expect diverse, nationally touring groups – supported by exceptional local artists – to play from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on a well-run soundstage. There will be local dance studio groups performing between acts and plenty of food trucks and beverage tents. All are encouraged to bring picnic stuff and your own lawn chairs and blankets.

This week's kickoff night features roots and blues by Paul Beaubrun, listed as "a scion of Haitian music royalty." Devin C. Williams, our area's finest purveyor of Delta blues-style doing classics and originals, will open the show. Dance Creations Dance Studio is the featured group between bands and I can share that "we" will have a surprise for you and you will "dig" it.

A longtime – like some 40 years – summer event begins this week with a few changes in the works. The Artist on the Plaza music series is now called Artist in the Park and happens at Union Square Park west of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum every Friday from May 31 through Aug. 30. Food and drinks are available to purchase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and varying entertainment acts begin at noon for hourlong performances, with complimentary lawn games and family-friendly activities ready to go the whole time.

I've been doing this gig since the days when the south side of the Old State Capitol Plaza was full of people, food vendors and foot traffic galore. That hasn't been the case for several years, so this reboot could be very cool and will be so, if you make it happen by showing up to this fun summertime event.

This Friday at noon experience Denise La Grassa, then make plans to return the rest of the Fridays in June for Jaden & Tiffani Saunders (June 7), Tom Irwin (me! June 14), FOURsquared (June 21) and Amy Benton (June 28) and keep on coming all summer long.

Here come the festivals and fairs, all supported and driven by live music, among other less important (just kidding, maybe) things. This weekend we have the 19th annual Little Flower Parish Heritage Days on the south side of town, feauturing music by Sushi Roll on Friday at 8 p.m., then a doubleheader of Gracia Harrison at 3 p.m. and Lick Creek at 8 p.m. on Saturday with Stefan Huffman at noon on Sunday.

Down south in Farmersville, the long-running Irish Days Celebration returns with all the trimmings of a small town festival including live music by The Silver Dollar Band on Thursday, Deja Voodoo on Friday and Off the Wall on Saturday, all starting at 8 p.m. in the K of C tent.

Now I'm done, but you're just starting, so be sure to check our listings for the dozens of other live music sightings and hearings happening all around the area.