Lexington MoonDance Amphitheater Schedule: Live Music, Dancing
Towards the end of the interpretation of “It’s Time to Dance” during the Saturday night show of “Cabaret for Change” by Activate theater at the MoonDance Amphitheater, Rylie Sudduth and Eliza Mulllins exclaim: âThis is more than I would have liked!
In the context of the hit Broadway and Netflix musical, they were referring to the inclusive prom they had to fight parents and school administrators to host. But as part of a Memorial Day weekend show, it might as well refer to the opportunity to perform on stage in front of a live, unmasked audience.
“When we booked this show, it was with the knowledge that this might not happen,” said ACTivate Founder and Director Vanessa Becker Weig.
Another increase in coronavirus cases could have resulted in further restrictions. If the student training company, which trained on Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic, could just perform in front of an audience, even a masked audience, that would have been enough. But it turned out the only thing that went wrong this weekend was the weather, with temperatures in the 50s at the time of the show on Saturday night.
Part of what made booking the show viable, even before a dramatic easing of restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus, was the MoonDance at the Midnight Pass Amphitheaterthe status of one of the only outdoor sites with all amenities in the Lexington area. And as arts groups and other entities began to emerge from more than a year offstage due to the pandemic, an amphitheater that combined the outdoors with full technical capabilities and facilities, including restrooms, was exactly what. that arts groups and other organizations needing to book large gatherings were looking for.
âIt’s suddenly on everyone’s radar this year, because people were rushing for outside sites,â said Celeste Lewis, director of programming for MoonDance. âA lot of people who didn’t know this existed were like, ‘This is perfect. “
“So this year it’s used five times compared to what it was in the past.”
Lewis and Lexington Parks & Recreation, which operates the facility, have scaled back their own programming, such as the Summer Nights in Suburbia concert series, to allow more local groups such as the Kentucky Ballet Theater and Lexington Children’s Theater to s ‘produce there. MoonDance mainstays such as the Big Band & Jazz Concert Series and Southland Jamboree are also back in the Beaumont Circle Hall.
“We love to see everyone – the dogs,” said Georgetown musician Sonny Burnette, seated in his folding chair next to his wife Joyce for a Tuesday night performance of the DiMartino-Osland Little Big Band, as part of the jazz series. He remembers meeting people sitting around them, even having a dog addicted to ranch dressing, coming to concerts in previous summers.
Last summer, the Burnettes missed the camaraderie of going out to the amphitheater to listen to music. âAfter a year or more, we were looking forward to coming back,â he said.
“We are so happy,” said Diana Worthington of Winchester, who was at the concert with her family, including her grandson Macklin Van Meter, 4, jumping through the thick grass of the walls that separate the bleachers from the amphitheater. âNo masks. Don’t ask me to wear a mask. It is a beautiful park, and there are the bathrooms. It’s perfect.”
There have been a number of temporary outdoor performance venues in Lexington over the decades, such as the UK Arboretum and Woodland Park. But MoonDance, which was built by developers Tim and Andy Haymaker and opened in 2010, is the only permanent facility with sound and lighting and, of course, a toilet – no braving the porta-pots here. Parks & Rec took over the venue’s programming a few years later, and in 2018, the CM Gatton Trust and the Haymaker Development Company donated the venue to the city.
Jessica Piersol of Lexington Parks & Recreation notes that MoonDance has been active for the past year, presenting performances such as the annual ‘Ballet Under the Stars’ concert and Thriller presentation to a limited audience with restrictions such as masks, social distancing and registration for contact tracing. But this summer seems to promise a return to normalcy, which co-conductor Miles Osland might feel at the start of the series.
âWe’re trying to remember how to do this,â Osland joked between the numbers in front of the crowd of several hundred people.
“It’s great to play again, man,” Osland said during a break. âIt’s like, literally, our first concert,â since the start of the pandemic. âThe sound guys here are so good. They make this place sound good. It’s a great place to play.
It looks like people will be playing MoonDance all summer long, which will host a variety of arts events as well as private gatherings that have been looking for a significant space to get together safely, although security concerns appear to be fading quickly.
âEverything is changing from week to week, and moment to moment and people are really starting to get on with life before the pandemic,â Piersol said. “And so we’re here to hopefully entertain and bring people together again.”
Rich Copley is a former Herald-Leader writer and art editor who continues to appreciate the arts and culture of Lexington.
MoonDance at the Midnight Pass Amphitheater
Or: 1152 Monarch Street, Lexington
Call: (859) 425-2349
Moon Dance scheduled event
This is a list of upcoming public events, at press time. Additional events are in the process of being booked.
June 4-6: Kentucky Ballet Theater. Company show: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Student show: 5 p.m. Sunday
June 8: Big Band & Jazz – Marlin McKay Quintet. 7:00 p.m.
June 11-12: Traci Stone Dance – âBetter when I dance. Â»7 pm Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday
June 15: Big Band & Jazz – Tim Lake and the Jazz Blues Persuaders. 7:00 p.m.
June 17: Southland Jamboree – Kenny and Amanda Smith
June 18-19: Bluegrass Youth Ballet – Festival of Nations and Arabella’s Journey. Party: 7 p.m. Show: 9 p.m.
June 22: Big Band & Jazz – Ross Whitaker Jazz Trio.
June 24: Southland Jamboree – Ida Clare
June 25: Summer Nights in Suburbia Concert Series – Seconde main
June 29: Big Band & Jazz – Lexington Summer Concert Band
July 8: Southland Jamboree – Alan Bibey and Grasstowne
July 15: Southland Jamboree – Blind Ricky
July 16-18: Allegro Dance Project – âRenaissanceâ. 8 p.m. every evening
July 22: Southland Jamboree – Hammertowne
July 23: Summer Nights in Suburbia Concert Series – The Other Brothers
August 19: Southland Jamboree – Custom Bluegrass
August 26: Southland Jamboree – Blue Eagle Band
August 27: Summer Nights in Suburbia Concert Series – Honeychild
September 4-5: Kentucky Woke Productions – Resilient Soundfest. 12 pm-10pm
September 16: Southland Jamboree – Closed
September 19: halfway to the St. Patrick’s Day festival
September 23: Southland Jamboree – Kentucky Wild Horse
September 24: Summer Nights in Suburbia Concert Series – C the Beat