Albany’s free summer concerts in Monteith Riverpark were a popular attraction before they were cancelled last year because of Covid. This summer we’ll see how things go when people have to pay for tickets and then go through an elaborate procedure to get in.
A reader sent me an email: “I recently noticed a snippet regarding River Rhythms and the new format for the 2021 season, specifically selling tickets for the concerts. If you have a moment, it might be beneficial to others to have this expounded upon.”
A moment I’ve got. But there’s no sense repeating what’s readily available on the city’s website here. (The link is to the River Rhythms page, which you can also find by going to cityofalbany.net, then to the parks and recreation department, where it hides under the “events” link.)
There are going to be four River Rhythms events on Thursday nights from July 22 through Aug. 12, plus three Summer Sounds concerts on Monday nights from Aug. 2 through Aug. 16.
In short, the main story is that people will need tickets to get into any of these events. The tickets are $5 a person, and everyone needs one, even kids.
The only way to buy a ticket is to go online and open an account with parks and rec. You can do that now to be ready for when tickets for all the concerts go on sale at 8 a.m. Monday, June 28.
(The Parks & Rec site may want to explain what it means by this: “You can purchase up to 2 tickets per person.” Do they mean that you can’t buy tickets for your family of four? Your kids have to buy their own? Or does it mean you can’t buy tickets for more than two concerts?)
In any case, once you have a ticket — printed from your computer, or an electronic version on your phone — you have to exchange it for a wristband at the main gate on the evening of the concert in order to be let in.
Attendance will be limited in line with whatever anti-Covid regulations the Oregon Health Authority has in place at the time. Parks and Recreation Director Kim Lyddane told me that for the first concert on July 22, the city hopes “to release around 1,000” tickets.
They will stick with the system that’s been set up even if all Covid restrictions are lifted. “With all of the constant changes,” Lyddane said, “we need(ed) to develop a plan and agreed to stick to (it) in order to have a quality event.”
This all seems like a lot of procedural red tape, but in the face of the state’s Covid mandates, I can see where the parks staff had to go to a lot of trouble to stage public concerts at all.
If you plan on taking in one of these events, better find that link and try to set up an account with Parks & Rec so you can try to buy a ticket as early as Monday. As for me, I ran into the usual trouble and gave up — the system claimed my email password was wrong. (hh)