When Alabama Shakes took the Booth Amphitheatre stage Wednesday night, the band kicked off the venue’s 15th summer concert season in a big – and funky – way.
Booth Amphitheatre finished the 2014 season by setting records. There were two sold-out shows with Jack Johnson and Darius Rucker while the Johnson concert was the highest grossing show in the venue’s history.
The outdoor amphitheatre seats 7,000, and many of those shows topped 5,000, according to town officials.
So where does it go from there? Bigger, of course.
The town approved a budget last fall to let the SMG management company to seek 15 national touring acts, which is four more than last year and the most in the venue’s history.
Look for a range of acts, from “Weird Al” Yankovic June 18 and Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” along with throwback acts such as Culture Club and Peter Frampton. Plus, comedian Jim Gaffigan, fresh off his well-received TV show, will bring his act Aug. 14.
But there are plenty of outdoor shows of the free variety in the area. Shopping complexes such as Waverly Place and Park West Village have regular concerts while area towns have their own concert series showcasing all kinds of regional music acts.
Don’t forget the movies. Booth Amphitheatre also hosts a movie series while free movies can be seen in Apex. (Morrisville just concluded its summer movie program).
So pack a blanket, chairs and picnic and get outside while the weather is nice. Keep an eye out for the weather, some bug spray will come in handy, too.
Note that dates are subject to change.
Cary’s 7,000-capacity venue at 8003 Regency Parkway is coming off a record season and is following up with more national acts than before. Highlights include Robert Plant (June 15), Weird Al (June 18), “A Prairie Home Companion” (Aug. 9) and comedian Jim Gaffigan (Sept. 1). The N.C. Symphony is back for another season of Summerfest. See list below.
For details on times and tickets, go to www.boothamphitheatre.com.
▪ June 18: “Weird Al” Yankovic
▪ July 18: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
▪ Aug. 5: Christina Perri, Colbie Caillat and Rachel Platten
▪ Aug. 9: Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”
▪ Aug. 11: Culture Club
▪ Aug. 12: Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick
▪ Aug. 14: Jim Gaffigan
▪ Sept. 1: Gregg Allman and The Doobie Brothers
▪ Oct. 15: Chris Tomlin with Rend Collective
N.C. Symphony Summerfest
The North Carolina Symphony Summerfest Series is celebrating its 30th anniversary of performances in Cary and the orchestra’s 15th season at Booth Amphitheatre. Shows are presented through July 9 with traditional classical music, ’80s tunes, Broadway songs, the music of Harry Potter and the Eagles. They also will perform at the popular, free July 4 concert with fireworks.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with most shows at 7:30 p.m. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
▪ June 19: An Evening of Broadway
▪ June 20: Symphonic Wizardry featuring the music of Harry Potter
▪ June 27: The Music of the Eagles
▪ July 4: Independence Day concert. The free show includes fireworks. Gates open at 3 p.m.
▪ July 9: The Hot Sardines (The symphony won’t perform at this show)
Tuesday for Tots
A free family event will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon July 7 and Aug. 4 at Booth Amphitheatre. There will be storytelling, playtime, stroller strides, music and more. Parents and caregivers must stay with their children while on site. Go to www.boothamphitheatre.com or call 919-462-2025.
Starlight Concert Series
The free concert series is at 7 p.m. the fourth Friday of each month, through Sept. 25, in the gardens of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop. Food and lawn chairs are permitted. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not. Call 919-460-4963 for weather updates. Go to www.townofcary.org.
▪ June 26: Celebration of Bluegrass
▪ July 24: Moment’s Notice
▪ Aug. 28: Jamrock
▪ Sept. 25: Craicdown
Sertoma Concert Series
The free concerts are at Sertoma Amphitheatre at Fred G. Bond Metro Park, 801 High House Road, Cary. Times vary. All shows will be held rain or shine. Go to www.townofcary.org or call 919-469-4069.
▪ June 26: Triangle Brass Band
▪ July 11: Blu-Bop: Tribute to Bela Fleck
▪ Aug. 8: Songs of the Fall
Free Wind Down Wednesday concerts are 6 to 9 p.m. on the Promenade of the Waverly Place shopping center at the corner of Tryon and Kildaire Farm Road. The concerts will go through July 29. On Aug. 13, they will be replaced by Thursday night shows known as Light Nights at Waverly Place at 6:30 p.m. Go to waverlycary.com/events.
The Live in the District Music Series is 6 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday through June 18 at Park West Village shopping center. People can bring lawn chairs and blankets to the free concerts, which are in front of Stone Theatre – Park West 14, Village Market Place, Morrisville. Go to www.parkwestvillage.net.
Free concerts are scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Nature Park Amphitheatre at Apex Nature Park, 2600 Evans Road. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics. Go to www.apexnc.org or call 919-249-1120.
▪ June 27: Triangle Brass Band
▪ July 18: Swift Creek Band
▪ Aug. 8: ReggaeInfinity
▪ Aug. 22: East Coast Rhythm & Blues
▪ Sept. 25: Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
The free Follow Me 2 Fuquay-Varina concert series concludes Thursday, June 18, in Centennial Square, 102 N. Main St., Fuquay-Varina, with the band called Smile. The concert is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Beer and wine are available for purchase. No coolers or pets are allowed. Go to www.fuquay-varina.org.
The Summer at the Springs series of free concerts are 6:30-9 p.m. on Fridays through August at the Holly Springs Cultural Center, 300 W. Ballentine St., Holly Springs. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics welcome. Go to www.hollyspringsnc.us.
June 26: John Henry
July 10: Mystique
July 24: The Southern Grace Band
Aug. 14: GB4
Aug. 28: North Tower
The Movies by Moonlight series is at Booth Amphitheatre. Blankets and chairs are welcome. Tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. A portion of the proceeds will benefit WakeMed Children’s Hospital. Picnics are welcome. Some movies were picked for a special reason. For example, “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Bridget Jones Diary” (released in 2001), were picked to celebrate the amphitheatre’s 15th season. “Dead Poets Society” will be screened around the one-year anniversary of star Robin Williams’ death. Go to www.boothamphitheatre.com. For tickets, go to www.etix.com or call 800-514-3849.
July 10: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” (PG-13)
July 11: “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (PG-13)
July 16: “Almost Famous” (R)
July 24: “St. Vincent” (PG-13)
Aug. 6: “Dead Poets Society” (PG)
Aug. 15: “Brave” (PG)
Aug. 21: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (PG-13)
Free movies are screened at dusk at the Nature Park Amphitheatre at Apex Nature Park, 2600 Evans Road. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics. Movies are scheduled July 11, July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 29, Sept. 12 and Oct. 3. Call 919-249-1120 for movie titles or go to www.apexnc.org.