‘Concerts in the Park’ season kicks off

With a schedule of 14 concerts underway at four outer East Portland parks, see where you can enjoy the summertime musical events …

Charlotte Wood, holding Sequoia Chabot and Martin Chabot holding Zephyr Chabot, settle in for the first free “Concert in the Park” at Mt. Tabor Park.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

From now through August 25, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) – with a lot of help from volunteer neighborhood concert committee members – are hosting more than a dozen concerts this summer.

The first of these concerts was at Mt. Tabor Park on the evening of July 5.

Mt. Tabor Concerts in the Park Committee volunteers Joel Salter and Maren Peterson say patron contributions helped fund the concert series.

Maren Peterson said she’s been a Mt. Tabor Concerts in the Park Committee volunteer for eight or nine years. “I do this volunteer work because I live on Mt. Tabor,” she said.

“I just love this whole idea of bringing together neighbors, and people in the community,” Peterson told East Portland News. “We have a lot of fun at these concerts, here in this beautiful park setting.”

At a kids’-activity table, helpers from Collage help youngsters make bead bracelets.

In addition to being a fun event, Peterson commented that she feels these events help build a sense of community for the area.

“That’s right; year after year people come back,” added concert committee member Joel Salter. “Sometimes this might be the only time you see a neighbor, and it’s always fun to get reacquainted.”

Friends of Mt. Tabor Park” volunteers David Hillman, Jack Vidosh, Larry Duckwall, and Guin Hillman help folks find parking for the year’s first Concert in the Park in this volcanic caldera concert bowl.

Again this year, volunteers from Friends of Mt. Tabor Park are on “parking patrol” during these weekly concerts.

“About a dozen volunteers help out at each of the concerts,” confirmed Friends organizer Dave Hillman. “We come up on Tuesday mornings and put up most of the ‘no parking’ and directional signs – then take them down on Wednesday morning.”

On the afternoon and evening of each concert, members of the Friends group, and members of the Mt. Tabor Foot Patrol, provide pedestrian safety, direct handicapped to the limited parking available, and get vendors situated, Hillman said.

The caldera fills with concert-goers long before the music starts.

The combination of the bands selected by the concert committee – and the ideal location – leads to a large turnout, observed Hillman. “Even the day after a holiday, we’re seeing a lot of people. We can have as many as 2,000 people coming in for a concert.”

Hillman’s advice for those arriving by vehicle: “Come early. Even then, be prepared to walk, probably uphill, from several blocks in the neighborhood. We do have a ‘drop-off’ area near handicapped parking.”

Liz Robbins, producer of several Concerts in the Parks programs, directs the concerts at Ventura Park, and Berrydale Park, and Glenhaven Park in addition to the series at Mt. Tabor.

While the band did a “sound check”, PP&R Concerts in the Parks Producer Liz Robbins was making sure everything was in order for the evening’s show.

“These concerts are the most wonderful thing that the City of Portland does every year,” Robbins said. “I talk to so many people throughout the year who look forward to these shows every summer. It’s free, family-friendly, and a lot of fun.

Grilling red-hots for the hungry crowd is Nicholas Klein of Mad Dogs.

“You can bring a picnic or enjoy food from the vendors, bring a bottle of wine, or a cooler of pop – it’s just a great place for people to come and get together to enjoy themselves,” Robbins said.

The concert season kicks off with a performance by World’s Finest.

After a brief self-introduction, the band “World’s Finest” began their original music, which they call “neo-Americana” – bridging the gap between the ska, Americana, dub, and bluegrass musical styles.

There are also concerts as part of the “Movies in the Parks”. But these four parks host weekly concert series:

  • Mt. Tabor Park at SE 69th & Taylor Street
  • Glenhaven Park at NE 82nd & Siskiyou Street
  • Ventura Park at SE 113th & Stark Street
  • Berrydale Park at SE 92nd & Taylor Street


CLICK HERE to see the East Portland News Community Calendar, listing all of the outdoor concert dates and locations – including the band, and style of music they perform – as well as the many free movie events coming up this summer.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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