The Moon Tunes concert series in Riverside Park has become a summer staple for the La Crosse community throughout the past 10 years of free concerts and entertainment.
As the event celebrates its 10-year anniversary this summer, organizers said they have no plans of stopping Moon Tunes anytime soon. In fact, plans to expand and improve the Thursday night concert series are already in the works, according to Terry Bauer, a Moon Tunes co-founder.
Even as different artists have come and gone from the Moon Tunes stage over the past decade, the overall goal of the concert has remained the same, Bauer said.
“It’s really just kind of an opportunity for people to come down and punch out of their hectic life and take a couple hours just to relax,” he said.
Although funding and logistics can make it difficult to plan for the future, Bauer said he hopes more food, seating and speakers can be added to improve the experience for concert goers. Long-term, Bauer said he could see the event including a lunchtime concert and an afternoon art fair, making Moon Tunes an all-day experience.
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The concert series began as “Noon Tunes,” with free concerts in Riverside Park during the lunch hour as opposed to being held in the evening. After a year or two of this, Bauer said he realized an evening concert would allow more people to attend.
“Once we went to evenings, we have people now that are like family. I mean we’ve seen them every week since we started; it’s amazing,” Bauer said. “I’m not sure what the magic is behind it apart from our talented musicians.”
This summer, concert goers can expect to hear both new and returning artists on Thursday evenings. The series kicked off on June 2 with Bill Miller’s instruments of peace and indigenous dancers. On Thursday, the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra performed a combination of both older and contemporary jazz pieces for the crowd. Hans Mayer and Friends also performed songs in a tribute to Paul Simon’s Graceland album.
Greg Balfany, director of the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, said playing in the Moon Tunes concert series is always a unique experience. even in comparison to other outdoor concerts.
“It’s a venue that allows us to reach many people who wouldn’t normally hear us,” Balfany said. “And as a result, we get more people coming to our concerts because they go ‘Oh, that’s what a big band is’. We can bring a lot of energy and people rarely hear that kind of energy from an acoustic performance.”
Bauer said other upcoming highlights include the UW-La Crosse Screaming Eagles’ performance on Sept. 1, and the country and blues nights set for July and August, respectively.
See a full schedule of artists below, or visit the Moon Tunes Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MoonTunesLaCrosse.