It doesn’t exactly sound like a picturesque setting meant to host live music, but in quarantine it will have to do: The Diamondhead Education Center parking lot in Burnsville will become another place for Twin Cities music lovers to catch some outdoor gigs this summer, thanks to a new drive-in concert series being launched there by veteran blues and soul rocker Mick Sterling.
Starting June 26, Sterling and the city of Burnsville will co-host the Relief Sessions every Friday night through July, featuring two shows per night. Performers lined up so far include GB Leighton, Joyann Parker, the Johnnie Brown Experience, Sterling’s own Stud Brothers and the popular tribute bands Steeling Dan, Hornucopia and the Shabby Road Orchestra.
The shows are modeled after the drive-in concert series started by Crooners in Fridley last week, but with a few variations: Alcohol will not be sold. Food will be served from food trucks and can be ordered ahead of time to deliver to your parking space. A large LED video screen will be hoisted next to the stage.
Also, attendees will be allowed to sit outside on lawn chairs in the empty parking spot next to their allotted car space, which is all still well in line with social distancing guidelines.
“Not only are people more than six feet apart from each other, there is an actual vehicle blocking them from each other as well,” said Sterling, who hosted the Art and All That Jazz Festival last year at the same location. The parking lot neighbors the Ames Center and Nicollet Commons Park, near the intersection of I-35W at Hwy. 13 (at 12550 Nicollet Av. S.).
These drive-in concerts are the back-up plan to bringing back the festival this year, once it was clear it had to be sidelined by COVID-19 restrictions. Said Sterling, “The entire City of Burnsville has been incredibly supportive of this effort to try and do something for live music and to provide an alternative to the very successful [festival] that brought the community together.”
Tickets to each of the shows – actually numbered parking spaces -- are being sold via Ticketworks.com at $20 apiece, with the option of adding additional adults per ticket order. Kids under 15 get in free. Money goes toward paying the musicians as well as Sterling’s 30-Day Foundation, serving families in need. The foundation was also behind a series of livestream and cable-access concerts that raised money in March and April also dubbed the Relief Sessions.
Sterling said there could be more dates added to the Burnsville series – and maybe even offshoot performances started in other cities -- with additional sponsorship. Here’s the roster for what is already on tap in Burnsville:
- June 26: The Johnnie Brown Experience (6 p.m.), the Jorgensens (8:15 p.m.)
- July 3: Joyann Parker (6), Hornucupia: Tribute to Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago (8:15).
- July 10: Steeling Dan (6), High and Mighty (8:15)
- July 17: Mick Sterling & the Stud Brothers (6), GB Leighton (8:15)
- July 24: Shabby Road Orchestra with Adam Levy (6), Heartsongs with Cate Fierro and Katie Gearty.