Surrey’s free Sounds of Summer concert series this year features more events and a wider variety of music.
The 13 concerts are held at parks across the city starting next Wednesday evening (June 28) with a kickoff event at Holland Park.
Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs to the concerts, which are designed for people to “discover a new garden, rediscover a favourite space, or relax and unwind within a beautiful outdoor setting.”
The series, now in its fifth year, is planned by Surrey’s Partners in Parks program, which organizes events and volunteer programs in the city’s 200-plus parks, including the Park Play Palooza event this Saturday (June 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at Holly Park, 10706 148th St.
“The concerts are definitely gaining in popularity every year,” said series planner Dan Nielsen. “We find that especially in the last two years, it’s taken off and residents are really responding well to it. They seem to enjoy the casual and informal gathering it is, in a park space, for music and activities.
“We’re really happy to see people showing up at a number of the events in different parts of the city,” Nielsen added. “Residents are following the concert series around and they’re getting introduced to new and different park spaces by doing that.”
This year’s concerts will be held at Holland Park, Glades Garden Park, Darts Hill Garden Park, Bear Creek Park Gardens, Sullivan Park, Surrey City Hall Plaza, Hawthorne Park Gardens, Surrey Nature Centre, Francis Park, Fleetwood Gardens Park and Blackie Spit Park (at Crescent Beach).
The music will be played by a wide range of performers, including Armadillo String Quartet, vaudeville artist Douglas Fraser, folk musician Willy Blizzard, sitar player Mohammed Assani, Caribbean-fusion band Rossi, Celtic-Canadian musician Pat Chessell and others.
First up, on June 28 at Holland Park, is the gypsy-swing band Deanna Knight at the Hot Club of Mars, in a 90-minute concert that starts at 6:30 p.m.
“The first one is a bit larger of an event, with ‘Canada 150’ activities starting at around 5 o’clock,” Nielsen said. “For that one, we’re also having the Downtown BIA come out with some crafts and different activities, followed by the concert. We’ll also have some garden photo opportunities, and Surrey Crime Prevention Society will be at the Holland Park one as well.”
New to the series this year are three afternoon concerts, with 1 p.m. start times on July 12 (Darts Hill), July 19 (Bear Creek) and Aug. 23 (Francis Park).
Those planning to take in one of the concerts are reminded that pets must be on a leash – and that some garden sites do not allow pets at all. Restrictions and other details, including the series schedule, are posted on the event website, at surrey.ca/culture-recreation/13488.aspx.
A food truck (Meet 2 Eat, offering Mediterranean-style food) will be at the launch event at Holland Park, but none of the other concerts will have food/beverage service, he noted.
“These are not licensed events. They’re family events,” Nielsen said. “The ones I’ve been to, the crowds are fantastic and seem to just love the environment, and it’s a great cross-section of families along with a lot of older adults. They’re really well received events.”
The complete Sounds of Summer concert series schedule:
• June 28, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Holland Park, featuring gypsy swing music with Deanna Knight & the Hot Club of Mars. “Come early for Canada 150 Celebrations, beginning at 5 p.m.,” event planners suggest.
• July 5, 6:30 to 8 p.m., The Glades Garden Park, featuring classical strings with Armadillo String Quartet. “Gates open at 5 p.m. for garden viewing. No pets. Limited parking south of main gate; please carpool where possible.”
• July 12, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Darts Hill Garden Park, featuring vaudeville with Douglas Fraser. “Gates open at noon for garden viewing. No pets.”
• July 12, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Bear Creek Park Gardens, featuring Canadian folk with Willy Blizzard.
• July 19, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Bear Creek Park Gardens, featuring Indian & Pakistani sitar and tabla music by Mohammed Assani.
• July 19, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Sullivan Park, featuring Caribbean fusion music by Rossi.
• July 26, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Surrey City Hall Plaza, featuring Irish Celtic music with Pat Chessell Band.
• Aug. 2, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Darts Hill Garden Park, featuring Chinese fusion music with Silk Road Music. “Gates open at 5 p.m. for garden viewing. No pets.”
• Aug. 9, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Hawthorne Park Gardens, featuring East-Coast Canadian and classic rock with Halifax Wharf Rats.
• Aug. 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Surrey Nature Centre, featuring big-band jazz with Golden Ears Jazz Band.
• Aug. 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Francis Park, featuring easy-listening sounds (string bass and guitar) of Gail Sattler & Al Cout.
• Aug. 23, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Fleetwood Park Gardens, featuring bluegrass of 5 on a String.
• Aug. 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Blackie Spit Park at Crescent Beach, featuring folk-rock ‘Canada 150’ celebration with Live Rust, a Neil Young tribute band. “Come early for Canada 150 Celebrations, beginning at 5 p.m. Limited parking. Shuttle and park and ride service available from the Royal Canadian Legion, located at 2643 128th St.”