With the Appalachian-inspired “Americana” sound of The Bumper Jacksons Duo, and masked music fans scattered around Ballard Park on blankets in socially distanced “pods,” Ridgefield’s free summer concerts started in off in high-spirited defiance of the coronavirus and COVID-19.

“It went extraordinarily well,” Barbara Manners said of the season’s first “CHIRP” (Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks) event. “My crew of students was amazing, people were respectful and polite and stayed in their pods except when going to port-o-johns.”

The concert was attended by about 330 people, according to Manners, the Ridgefield selectwoman who has organized the free CHIRP concerts for 19 years now.

People were required to preregister, show ID when the they checked in, and wear masks when leaving their pods.

Rain on Tuesday, July 7, caused the outdoor concert to be rescheduled two days later, when the weather was cooperative.

“We had reservations for 400 but when we postponed from Tuesday to Thursday, many had other plans,” Manners said, “and instead of filling the spots from the waiting list (which we had) I decided to keep it small the first concert.”

The pods

The park’s grass had areas for blankets delineated with white lines, to keep groups appropriately distant — these were the “pods” Manners spoke of.

People sitting together with the friends and family they’d come with might take their masks off, but people walking around were asked to wear masks.

“If they left their pod, they wore masks,” Manners said. “Everyone wore their mask in and leaving park.

“While only two gates were open for entry, people socially distanced outside as they waited to come in, and showed up at varying times between 5:45 and 7,” Manners said, “and we opened all gates for leaving so there was no apparent crowding.”

Livestreaming

The concerts are being livestreamed this year, for people who prefer not to venture out.

“Just go to Facebook, chirpct, at 7 p.m. on night of concert and you can view it,” Manners said.

The Bumper Jacksons Duo had a small group livestreaming it during the event, Manners said, but a larger number checked it out later.

“There were only 35 people throughout, but since then over 2,000 people have viewed some or all of it. It is still available online,” Manners said.

The artists who performed Tuesday, July 14, the Klezmatics, agreed to the livestreaming during the concert, but didn’t authorize CHRIP to keep the performance up on the web for later viewing.

“It is up to artists whether we can then replay it after for others,” Manners said.

The artists for Tuesday, July 21, are The Mammals and the Adam Ezra Group is schedule for July 28.