Grace Potter show puts Ridgefield Playhouse back in action
RIDGEFIELD — Singer-songwriter Grace Potter played before more than 700 people in two shows last weekend, as the Ridgefield Playhouse fought back against the pandemic by putting on its first live music in Ballard Park.
“It was our first show in the park. It went great,” said Playhouse Executive Director Allison Stockel. “We had about 350 for the 4 p.m. show and 400 for the 8 p.m. show.
Seating was done in socially distanced “pods” of people who arrived together, as with the Tuesday and Thursday night Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks.
“Everyone was very respectful about wearing masks and staying in their pods. I think people were just thrilled to see a great name like that in our park and it felt great going to a live concert again,” Stockel said. “I think the restaurants and stores really appreciated it as well. Most people were from the area but not necessarily Ridgefield so it was nice to have people exploring our town.”
The Playhouse is planning a few more outdoor shows the weekend of Aug. 28-30.
“These concerts will be on the ballfield next to the Playhouse under a tent with seats — so, a little different than Ballard Park,” Stockel said.
The Aug. 28 show we feature “American Idol” winner and Connecticut native Nick Fradiani, and the band The Alternate Routes; Aug. 29 will be Javier Colon, the winner of the first season of “The Voice,” with opening act Dante Palminteri; and on Aug. 30, comedian Dave Attel will perform.
“We are planning for a few more outdoor shows in September and possibly one in October, but then the weather will be too cold,” Stockel said.
“Doing these shows allows us to breathe a bit,” she said. “We have so far had to cancel and/or move more than 120 shows, and will most likely have about 30 more between the late fall and end of the year.
“Everything is so up in the air that being able to do a couple of shows, while it won’t help our bottom line that much, it helps our sanity, helps us continue our mission, and I know it is helping people feel ‘normal’ again, even though we are doing it in a completely different way.”
CHIRP continues to offer its free summer concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in Ballard Park, starting at 7 p.m., with advance registration required.
Upcoming concerts are the Johnny Nicholas band on Aug. 25 and James Maddock on Sept. 1.
The concerts are funded by individual and foundation donations as well as contributions from local businesses. The series is co-sponsored by the town of Ridgefield through its Parks & Recreation Department and The Ridgefield Press.