Live music back again this summer

Summer is quickly approaching, and for music lovers, that means one thing: concert season.

After an abbreviated live music scene last year due to pandemic, bands will once again play the best rock, country, blues and R&B under the evening skies.

People will be able to lay out a blanket or lawn chairs to soak in the music. And throughout Johnson County, most of those concerts will cost you nothing at all.

More than 40 free live shows have been scheduled in the county in the coming months. Longtime fan favorites such as Toy Factory, My Yellow Rickshaw and the Blue River Band are scheduled to take the stage, as are newer additions to the lineup, such as tribute act Boy Band Review and yacht rockers The Nauti Yachtys.

With concerts planned nearly every weekend, get ready for a soulful, swinging summer no matter what kind of music you like.

Picnic Concert Series

With its spacious countryside grounds and permanent stage out back, Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville makes full use of its facilities to offer live music during the warmer months.

The series starts on Memorial Day weekend with My Yellow Rickshaw and will continue every weekend. Some of the area’s most popular bands, such as the Bishops, Idle Kings and Parrots of the Caribbean, are scheduled to take the stage.

Food trucks will be on hand offering something to snack on, and the winery’s outdoor shack will ensure you can get your glasses, bottles and wine slushies without missing a note.

Most of the events are free to attend. Special events planned throughout the summer, such as concerts by tribute bands Without U2, Hairbangers Ball and Boy Band Review, will require tickets. And on the Fourth of July weekend extravaganza, a $10-per-car charge will include music and fireworks.

Greenwood Summer Concert Series

Music under the stars has been a Greenwood tradition for years, and once again the parks department’s summer concert series offers music in one of the area’s most idyllic settings.

Spread out at the Greenwood Amphitheater at Craig Park, concertgoers can take in the tunes from their blankets or lawn chairs while snacking out of their coolers.

The schedule is filled with local favorites. Step back in time with the classic sounds of 45 RPM, and boogie to the pop jams of Stella Luna. Country-rockers Blue River Band and The Big 80s are also among those on the lineup.

All concerts begin at 7 p.m. While coolers are allowed into the amphitheater, they must be single-handled and no more than 20 inches in length. All coolers must enter through the designated gate located at the top of the amphitheater stairs, and outside alcohol and anything in a glass container is strictly prohibited and subject to confiscation upon inspection.

Capacity at the concerts is 1,215, and to help keep people safely distanced, the grounds have been broken into different zones that people will be assigned to when they arrive.

Ray Skillman Summer Concert Series

Start the weekends off a little early at the Greenwood Park Mall, where organizers have again scheduled a series of Thursday night shows around their outdoor fountain plaza.

Good-time party band The Flying Toasters will have their high-octane pop and rock hits blasting, while the crowd will be up and dancing to the funk, R&B and rock of Toy Factory.

Funky jam band Straight Up Chumps, down-home rockers Bigg Country and Crush, a Bon Jovi tribute band, add a little bit of variety to the schedule. Regional favorites My Yellow Rickshaw, the Woomblies and Blue River Band round out the concert slate.

Franklin Symphonic Council Summer Concert Series

Nothing matches a gentle summer breeze better than an evening of jazz, barbershop, brass and orchestral music. The Franklin Symphonic Council has gathered some of the most talented bands from throughout the region to perform open-air concerts on Franklin College’s campus.

The series kicks off with a performance by the Indiana Wind Symphony, the 80-member award-winning ensemble based in Carmel. Every week brings another group, each with unique styles and sounds: the Crossroads Brass Band, a British-style brass performing group; Director’s Jazz Orchestra, which includes all types of jazz in its repertoire; Indy Winds Flute Choir, a collection of talented flutists, and Carol & Company Trio.

The final concert of the series, on July 14, will be by beloved local barbershop chorus the Chordlighters.

All of the concerts are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available to purchase. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to spread out and listen to the shows.

Franklin festivals

After last year put a damper on festivals throughout downtown Franklin, city leaders have come together to pack the weekends with unique celebrations, each of which will include live music.

Festival season begins on May 21 with the Festival County Kickoff, featuring My Yellow Rickshaw. To close out the Strawberries on the Square event on May 28, enjoy the sounds of Birch Creek. The Bishops will perform at the inaugural Car-B-Q Festival on June 12, while the Blue River Band takes the stage at the Franklin Firecracker Festival on July 3.

The Woomblies are featured at the Daily Journal Street Party on July 16, while an unannounced band will be part of the Ethos Celebration of the Arts on Aug. 28.

All of the concerts are free to attend.