The COVID-19 pandemic has forced another change in the Music in the Park free summer concert series.
EmiSunshine postponed her performance originally scheduled for July 9 because of the pandemic and scheduling problems. She and her band instead will perform in a free concert on Oct. 11 at the Parsons Municipal Auditorium, barring any further changes.
To fill the July 9 slot, Matt Hoisington, the city’s media and events director, booked Oklahoma country artist Jacob Tovar to sing in the second concert in the series.
Those who were disappointed there wasn’t any old-time country in the concert series will be happy, according to a press release from the city. Tovar brings country music back to its classic roots, singing impactful country standards and writing and performing original tunes that carry stories with which everyone can relate. Tovar’s timeless crooning honky-tonk vocals can haunt and enchant all in the same phrase, while his riveting guitar playing frames each melody with a spark of distinction, the press release said.
Since his debut album in August 2015, Tovar has been spreading the roots country genre around the Midwest, Europe and beyond, sharing bills with John Fulbright, Chris Stapleton, Hanson, Junior Brown, Wayne the Train Hancock, Paul Benjaman and many more Tulsa Sound natives.
Tovar performed in Parsons with the Saddle Tramps preceding Jason Boland and the Stragglers during the 2015 Katy Days.
The latest change in Music in the Park is just one more in a string that has left Hoisington scrambling to fill spots or notifying the public about cancellations. The series originally was slated for nine shows, but the pandemic forced the cancellation of four of them. The Parsons Community Orchestra and Parsons Community Band canceled their shows because they were unable to practice and couldn’t social distance on stage. The Cubanisms and The Banned decided not to travel to this area because of factors related to the pandemic. Another group, Dr. Funk & The Soul Vaccinations, broke up. Hoisington had to move Donnie Miller and Rude Awakening from the beginning of the series on June 4 to the end on July 30 because of restrictions on crowd sizes. The series is now set to begin on Thursday with The Duke Mason Band, which is a fill-in for the Cubanisms.
All of the shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Seaton Family Pavilion in Forest Park. Concessions will be sold beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Duke Mason Band and Tovar will be followed by classic rock band Encore on July 16; Peace, Love & Music: A Tribute to the Bands of Woodstock on July 23 and blues artist and Coffeyville native Donnie Miller, a 2020 inductee to the Kansas Music Hall of Fame, on July 30.
Hoisington encourages anyone planning to attend a concert to check the Music in the Park Parsons Kansas Facebook page on show day or call his office, 421-7032, for up-to-date information before traveling any distance.
Even though the shows are outdoors, the city encourages masks and social distancing. In case of severe weather conditions (heat advisories or rain/thunderstorms), the concerts will be canceled instead of moved to Parsons Municipal Auditorium as in previous years. If a heat advisory or warning is in effect, concerts may begin later than 7:30 p.m. and still be held outdoors as the sun sets and the weather cools. Bench seating and picnic tables are available, but individuals are encouraged to bring their blankets and lawn chairs. Alcoholic beverages and glass containers are not allowed in the park. Smoking and vaping are allowed only in designated areas.