Ridgefield will have free concerts in Ballard Park beginning July 7

Coronavirus has come and — people hope — will eventually go. But “CHIRP” — Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks — is rocking on.

CHIRP founder Barbara Manners has announced she intends to put on a season of weekly concerts, starting Tuesday, July 7. There will be new protocols to follow, including preregistration by people going to the concerts, limits on crowd sizes, on the size of groups attending together, and requirement that groups sit at least 15 apart from other groups.

Concerts will also be livestreamed this summer, for those who prefer to enjoy them from home.

Manners, a Ridgefield selectwoman, began organizing the free CHIRP concerts in Ballard Park in the summer of 2002, to unite the town and assist in its recovery from the shock of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

She outlined her plans for this unusual summer in an email blast addressed to “Friends and CHIRP lovers” and sent out Monday, June 22.

“At long last we have positive news to share!” Manners said. “We will be starting CHIRP concerts in the park on Tuesday evening, July 7, and presenting them once a week for July and possibly twice a week in August depending on audience compliance with the many guidelines we will all have to adhere to when entering Ballard Park.

“Our first concert will feature the Essential Bumper Jacksons, (i.e. its lead vocalist, Jesse and her husband who will perform as a duo). July 14 we will for the first time present the legendary Klezmatics; Mike + Ruthy with their band, The Mammals return July 21. Later in the summer, Susan Werner entertains Aug 18, and the Johnny Nicholas band plays Aug. 25. For the most up-to-date information visit CHIRP’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChirpCT/ or call 203-431-6501.

“This year, in accordance with protocols and for purposes of tracking and tracing, all attendees will have to preregister. Information about that will be forthcoming as well as links to forms online,” Manners said.

“Attendance at the first two concerts may not exceed 500 people, with groups (no more than 10 people) of friends who come together, socially distanced by 15 feet from every other group.

“There will be monitors at the two open gates checking registrations and masks before entry,” she said. “Burdensome? Yes, but hopefully you will determine it is worth it to come sit under the stars and hear live music.

“Concerts will also be livestreamed this summer for those who won’t be able to make it to park,” she said, promising that more information on the livestreaming would be released in coming weeks.

“But for now, just wanted to share the news,” Manners said. “CHIRP begins July 7!”