Summertime sounds: Free concerts abound in Johnson County this summer

Let the music play.

Over the coming months, song will fill the air in communities throughout Johnson County. Local residents can enjoy rock, R&B, pop, country, even classical and big band music underneath the evening skies, enjoying the warmer weather and a chance to connect with neighbors once again.

Best of all, nearly every power chord, bassline shuffle and twangy riff comes free of charge.

Summer means concert season, and local organizers have put together lineups of local favorites and new-to-town acts. The festivities kick off on May 19, when Franklin welcomes up-and-coming country rocker Clayton Anderson to the Amphitheater.

And the tunes only heat up from there. To help you plan, here are 10 performers not to miss:

Clayton Anderson

Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Amphitheater, 161 W. Monroe St., Franklin; free

What: Clayton Anderson understands what it means to be a Hoosier. Growing up in southern Indiana, he was influenced by the state’s musical heroes, while at the same time mixing his own style of rock-infused roots music. Throughout his career, he’s built a solid foundation in the country world, performing alongside artists such as Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Jake Owens. Kick off the summer concert season with his down-home sounds, where attendees can also enjoy food trucks as well as a beer and wine garden. Gavin Curry opens the show.

Toy Factory

Details: 6 p.m. May 27, Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville, free; 7 p.m. June 3, Greenwood Amphitheater, 300 S. Washington St., free; 6:30 p.m. July 6, Greenwood Park Mall, 1251 U.S. 31 N., free;

What: Get out the groove when this Indianapolis-based band takes the stage. Playing R&B, soul, funk and rock tunes from the past five decades, the group is one of the most popular in the area, and is booked to perform a number of times at Johnson County events. From their spot-on rendition of Van Halen’s “Jump” to the rousing “Uptown Funk,” be prepared to boogie.

Crush Bon Jovi Experience

Details: 7 p.m. June 23, Amphitheater

What: The guitar-driven arena rock of Bon Jovi has been a part of the soundtrack of summertime for generations. Crush Bon Jovi Experience brings that energy and atmosphere to downtown Franklin in a special tribute concert event. Led by front man and lead singer Doug Shepard — who not only sounds and moves like Jon Bon Jovi, but looks surprisingly like him — the band will rip off all of the classics, from “Livin on a Prayer” to “Bad Medicine.”

The Nauti Yachtys

Details: 7 p.m. July 29, Greenwood Amphitheater

What: Something about the easy-going guitars and warm harmonies of late ’70s and early ’80s rock puts you in a summer mood. Specializing in what’s become known as “yacht rock,” the Nauti Yachtys bring the sounds of Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates, Gerry Rafferty, Christopher Cross, Jackson Browne, Little River Band, Ambrosia and more to the stage. So grab your sailor’s hat and your boat shoes, and settle in for a night as sophisticated as it is smooth.

Sounds of Summer

Details: 7 p.m. July 1, Mallow Run Winery ($10 per car, with fireworks finale); 7 p.m. Aug. 5, Greenwood Amphitheater

What: A Beach Boys tribute act couldn’t pick a better name; no other artist captures the nostalgic feel of summers gone by. Sounds of Summer not only plays all the hits — “Surfin’ Safari,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “Little Deuce Coupe” and so many more — but tells the story of the Beach Boys and their impact on pop culture from the 1960s on. Even if you don’t have a board and a break, you can still be transported to a time when surfing ruled the days and cool cars ruled the nights.

Indy Annies

Details: 2 p.m. July 2, Mallow Run Winery; 6:30 p.m. July 13, Greenwood Park Mall

What: This female-centered outfit brings traditional country pickin’ together with outlaw country and modern sounds for an unforgettable musical experience. The Indy Annies pay heed to the trailblazers of country music, such as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn, while peppering in songs by everyone from Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard to Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert.

No Fences

Details: 6 p.m. Aug. 5, Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road, Bargersville; 7 p.m. Aug. 25, Amphitheater, 161 Monroe St., Franklin

What: Johnson County continues to get some of the best tribute acts around, this time one dedicated to country superstar Garth Brooks. The group is led by southern Indiana musician Dusty Miller, who was inspired to first pick up a guitar after hearing Brooks perform as an 11-year-old. Now, he’s captures the passion of Brooks’ live shows along with his bandmates, who has opened for artists such as Brad Paisley, Toby Keith and The Kentucky Headhunters.

Indiana Wind Symphony

Details: 7 p.m. July 26, Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 W. Adams Dr., Franklin

What: Inside the sanctuary at Grace United Methodist Church, the gentle lilt of flute, clarinet and oboe will dance through the evening air like a butterfly. The Indiana Wind Symphony will bring together saxophone and trombone with the deep sounds of tuba and bassoon, the music floating like a summer breeze. This award-winning group from Carmel again comes to Johnson County as part of the Franklin Symphonic Council’s summer concert series; every Wednesday in June and July, a new free concert is featured by the group, either at Grace United Methodist Church or the Franklin College ellipse.

The Woomblies

Details: 7 p.m. June 10, Greenwood Amphitheater; 6 to 9 p.m. July 15, Mallow Run Winery

What: Concert-goers can expect a good mix of cover songs pulled from the best bands in rock history as well as some hidden gems from this high-energy group. Since coming together in 2000, the Woomblies have expanded their scope significantly over the past two decades. They’ve added dozens of songs to their repertoire, performing all over the region and expanding into another project, the Woomblies Rock Orchestra, with a larger base of musicians.

7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience

Details: 7 p.m. Aug. 26, Mallow Run Winery; $15 advance, $20 day of show

What: This group from Nashville, Tennessee lovingly and precisely pays tributes to one of the biggest rock bands in history in a celebration of the Eagles. They’ll take you on a journey to “Hotel California,” ask you to “Take It To the Limit,” and ask the audience to “Take It Easy.” Fans can expect the best of the Eagles’ catalog, recreated with Glenn Frey’s bravado, Don Henley’s earnestness and Joe Walsh’s wild energy.

To see a full list of concerts, click here.

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Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist at the Daily Journal. He has long reported on the opioids epidemic in Johnson County, health care, nonprofits, social services and veteran affairs. When he is not writing about arts, entertainment and lifestyle, he can be found running, exploring Indiana’s craft breweries and enjoying live music. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727. Follow him on Twitter: @rtrares