It seems that the ear plays an important role in the awareness of the world around us. With the negativity that we have been hearing lately, it might be wise to treat our auditory senses to some entertaining and relaxing music. One way to maintain mind-soothing harmony this summer would be to enjoy selections of comforting music.
What if these musical opportunities were free and outdoors? The answer to that question is easier than you might think. Communities on the Eastside of Lake Washington offer the opportunity to enjoy music without cost at a variety of venues.
These free summer concerts offer an assortment of musical styles, including singer-songwriters, cover groups and symphonies. They are family friendly with opportunities to picnic, dance and meet others who enjoy music. Some sites have refreshments available for purchase.
Even though the concerts are free, sometimes there is an opportunity to put some money or “bread” in the performers’ jar, basket or a repurposed guitar case. If you truly enjoyed the show, often the performers have CDs for sale — usually at a reasonable price.
The following is a list of the various shows to enjoy this summer. Each venue has a website that you can visit to check locations, dates, times and who’s performing.
In Sammamish, Concerts in the Park take place Thursday evenings at Pine Lake Park. The weekly outdoor concerts happen from 6:30-8 p.m. between July 13-Aug. 31. Bring your own picnic or purchase dinner on-site. Parking for this event is available at Pine Lake Park, Discovery Elementary School and South Sammamish Park and Ride.
Note that parking at Pine Lake Park is extremely limited and fills up early in the day. There is a free shuttle that runs between the South Sammamish Park and Ride and Pine Lake Park before and after the concert.
In Issaquah, there are two weekly events: Tuesday’s “Concerts on the Green” are held at the Issaquah Community Center lawn. This series runs from 7-8:30 p.m., from July 11-Aug. 28. Spectators often start gathering as early as 6 p.m. for community picnicking. On Thursday nights, the Downtown Issaquah Association, in partnership with the Washington Blues Society, presents the “Gas Station Blues” at the Historic Shell Station on Front Street from 7-9 p.m., from July 13-Aug. 24.
A very ambitious offering is presented by the Bellevue Downtown Association through its Live at Lunch concert series. These performances take place at various downtown Bellevue venues every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 12-1:30 p.m., from July 11-Sept. 14.
Redmond has Thursday “Nights Rockin’ on the River” Concerts (6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.) at the Redmond Senior Center Garden Plaza, from July 13-Aug. 10.
In Mercer Island, there is “Mostly Music in the Park,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays nights, from July 20-Aug. 24 at Mercerdale Park.
Newcastle’s concert series happens at Lake Boren Park from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday evenings, from July 19-Aug. 9.
Kirkland’s Summer Concert Series are held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, from July 6-Aug. 17 at Marina Park.
Look for the opportunity locally to allow your acoustic perception to provide you with some free and fun relaxation. It has been stated that many times we do not hear the melody or the lyrics until we need the song. This may just be the chance to tune in and enjoy music and put your troubles aside.
Sammamish resident Larry Crandall is a retired educator.