By Kevin Collison
Voltaire owner Wes Gartner and some friends were sharing another lemon of a day during the depth of the Covid-19 quarantine last summer when inspiration hit.
“I was sitting with friends enjoying the outdoor weather and said, ‘we ought to enjoy this on a grander scale,'” Gartner recalled.
So he reached out to Steve Tulipana and Shawn Sherrill, old friends from The Record Bar, and pitched them on the idea of launching an outdoor concert series on the West Bottoms parking lot owned by Bill Haw Jr. used by his restaurant customers.
“I’m a musician myself, Steve and Shawn were closed, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for them and local musicians, Gartner said.
And that’s how the Lemonade Park concert series, now in its second year, was made.
The series, which features mostly local bands, started up again at the beginning of the month and Gartner hopes to keep it going through October.
“I created the space and it was my idea, and I’m partnering with (Tulipana and Sherrill) for booking, promoting and ticketing,” Gartner said.
Most of the shows are on Fridays and Saturday evenings, although that schedule occasionally includes some Sundays and weekdays as well. The schedule can be found here.
The Lemonade Park venue at 1628 Wyoming currently is accommodating 200 people because of the Covid public health restrictions, but the lot could handle more than 800 people under normal circumstances.
Tickets, which are sold strictly online, are sold for two seating options. There are 125 reserved seats at which people receive table service and can order plated food from Voltaire as well as drinks.
The other 75 are general admission. Patrons are invited to bring their own chairs and there’s a walk-up bar and food.
Starting in June, Lemonade Park plans to begin a Wednesday movie night in partnership with Screenland.
Gartner would like to keep making lemonade even when the lemon days of Covid are over.
“As long as it’s a draw and people find it interesting, it’ll go on as long as we can,” he said.
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