Of all the upset constituents that state lawmakers might have to fear if this government shutdown happens, AARP-voting Davy Jones groupies could be some of the scariest.
Fortunately, it looks as if this weekend's pair of Monkees shows and other upcoming concerts at the Minnesota Zoo's popular amphitheater will go on as planned, even if the zoo itself will not be open for business.
Details are as mirky as the swamp behind the Music in the Zoo stage, but a zoo representative said before last night's concert that the staff there has been told the shows will go on "no matter what." A new posting on the zoo's website today also confirms that the music series "will proceed as planned." If the zoo's daytime operations are closed by the shutdown, gates for the concerts will then open up at 6 p.m.
Concert promoter Sue McLean and her team -- who are essentially renters in this case and understandably don't want to upset their property manager (zoo staff) or landlord (state officials) -- have been more tight-lipped than the zoo's giant python on the matter. However, action in this case probably spoke volumes: McLean & Co. made no visible action toward making backup arrangements and generally seemed unworried.
The shutdown's impact on the zoo itself -- which only gets 30 percent of its funding from the state and is obviously in its high season right now -- was in question up until Thursday, when a Ramsey County judge ruled that the zoo cannot be opened for business during the shutdown because it is not a "core function of government." Zoo staff are technically state employees. Perhaps one saving grace in this case: The concerts are primarily run by McLean's crew and other outside employees.
After tonight's Matisyahu performance and Friday and Saturday's Monkees gigs, the next zoo concert is not until July 9 with Toots & the Maytalls. After that, though, comes a slew of them: Little Feat (July 10), Sara Bareilles (July 12), Indigo Girls (July 13), the Suburbs/Commandos (July 15) and Dave Koz & Co. (July 16). That's a pretty wide cross-section of music fans who will be happy to see the series continue.