When Brandon Simmons began working with the Wyoming Concerts in the Park series six years ago, he saw a lot of potential for growth.
“I was coming from Muskegon’s Summer Celebration and had worked on Milwaukee’s SummerFest, so I knew Wyoming had something that could really be built upon,” Simmons said.
This year, the Wyoming Community Enrichment Commission not only booked a record number of bands, 14, but has pulled in several that have toured regionally and nationally. Headlining it all is West Michigan’s The Verve Pipe, kicking off the series May 31.
“This is The Verve Pipe’s only free show all year,” Simmons said.
The Verve Pipe formed in 1992 and is best known for the song “The Freshman,” which peeked at No. 5 in the Billboard Top 100, along with “Photograph” and “Colorful,” the ballad from the film “Rock Star” starring Mark Walhberg.
In addition to their success on radio, TV and film, sold-out concert dates throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, features in Spin and Rolling Stone and videos on MTV and VH1, the band have made numerous television appearances, including “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Night With David Letterman.”
After an eight year hiatus, The Verve Pipe were approached to submit an original song for a compilation album of children’s music. That session inspired “A Family Album,” their critically acclaimed introduction to the world of children’s music, as well as their follow up release, “Are We There Yet?.” Both albums contain music intended for the entire family, with fun and inventive lyrics set to the memorable melodies the band is known for.
In 2014, The Verve Pipe released their first rock album in more than 13 years with “Overboard,” a collection of ten new songs including “Crash Landing,” “Hit and Run,” and the haunting title track “Overboard.”
The May 31 show will be a mixture of the band’s hit tunes and family friendly music since the concert is on “Kids First Day.” The concert is set for 7 p.m. at Lamar Park, 2561 Porter St. SW.
The Wyoming Concerts in the Park run every Tuesday through Aug. 2 and then wraps up with the Saturday event the Music & More Fest. Running from 4 – 11 p.m., the free event will feature a kid’s Home Run Derby, local food options, and a beer/wine/cider tent. Three bands will perform, headlined by the country-rock group Gunnar & The Grizzley Boys. The Grand Rapids Film Festival will show a movie at dusk on a giant inflatable screen to close out the event.
Simmons said another popular concert is June 28, which will be the 4th annual “WY-FI,” the official Wyoming fireworks event. “We are expecting about 10,000 people in attendance,” Simmons said. The concert features two bands, Trilogy and Grand Rapids high-energy rock band The Outer Vibe.
The rest of the concert line-up includes: rock and blues group Big Boss Blues June 7; rockabilly/honky tonk Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys June 14; country group Kari Lynch Band June 21; Kentwood Community Church’s Gospel Band July 5; indie rock and folk show The Legal Immigrants July 12; country rock group Jared Knox July 19; folk band The Crane Wives July 26; and Grupo Viento Aug. 2 for National Night Out.
Simmons said the local food truck Goodwill Blue Spoon will be on hand at the concerts. “This truck is a little different in that being part of Goodwill, it provides training and jobs to those in need,” he said, adding the series is excited to have the truck at this year’s event.
All concerts, unless noted, start at 7 p.m. at Lamar Park. All the concerts will air on WKTV 25 Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and again Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. For all details and up-to-date information, visit www.wyomingcec.org or www.facebook.com/wyomingcec.