For many, warm weather marks the beginning of the outdoor concert season.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions have forced some venues or acts to cancel or indefinitely postpone shows.
But thanks to the free Westmoreland Cultural Trust’s TGIS (Thank Goodness It’s Summer) season, music lovers missing live performances have a place to go.
Outdoor TGIS performances, typically held in the courtyard of the Palace Theatre in downtown Greensburg, have moved to the lawn of the Greensburg Garden & Civic Center, 952 Old Salem Road, Greensburg, on Thursdays through Aug. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Food and drinks are available starting at 5 p.m.
“Everyone on our team has worked collaboratively on the project to ensure we could provide this for the community, and do it in a safe way in accordance with all the regulations,” said Adam Seifert, the trust’s community and corporate engagement manger.
The series kicked off June 18, with Cash4Life, a Pittsburgh-based Johnny Cash tribute band.
Ticket reservations – attendance is limited to 250 people – went quickly. The trust opens an online reservation system each Monday at 10 a.m. for those who want to attend the weekly concert.
In addition to the crowd limits, Seifert said there are 10-foot squares, or pods, painted on the field outside the center, leaving red spaces in between to ensure social distancing guidelines were followed. Each pod can accommodate four people. Masking is also required as people enter the concert area, if they move around to buy food or drinks or go into the center to use the restroom.
“We want everyone to have a good time, be comfortable, and feel safe,” Seifert said. “The first week went great. All of our attendees respectfully wore masks on the way in and around the grounds.”
Those attending the shows are asked to bring a blanket or chair, as no chairs are available at the venue.
In prior years, each week’s show had a specific local food vendor. Seifert said safety concerns prompted trust members to opt for just one vendor for the year, Allegheny Catering, which will sell food each week while trust staff members tend bar.
Another change for the year, he said, is the potential for outright cancellation of shows if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Previously, the outdoor concerts were able to move inside into the Palace Theatre’s Megan’s Suite during inclement weather.
He said it would be impossible to accommodate concert goers, the band and staff while still adhering to social distancing guidelines inside the Civic Center.
Still, said Seifert, “Having the concerts with the treat of having to cancel is better than canceling the season.”
Cancelation announcements will be made on the trust’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.
And should state regulations on crowd sizes change, Seifert said the trust will adjust to that, too, allowing more people to come and enjoy the free concerts.
The series runs through Aug. 20 on every Thursday except for July 2.
Upcoming acts are:
June 25: The String Theory, an alternative acoustic duo
July 9: Andy and Natalie Gregg with Jackson Gardner, classic and outlaw country
July 16: Gary Pratt, country
July 23: Hamilton Ave., classic rock
July 30: The Bricks, classic acoustic rock
Aug. 6: The Woods Family Band, blues/roots rock
Aug. 13: Singers In The Round with Henry Backorski, Caryn Dixon and Spencer Allan Patrick, variety
Aug. 20: East Coast Turnaround, rock, blues, country and soul
For reservations or additional information, visit www.thepalacetheatre.org/westmoreland-cultural-trust/.