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COVID-19 surge halts summer concerts series

Singer songwriter Jonathan Kingham, center right, performs with the Home by Dark band at Chukkar Farm in Alpharetta in 2016. PHOTO / JASON GETZ
Singer songwriter Jonathan Kingham, center right, performs with the Home by Dark band at Chukkar Farm in Alpharetta in 2016. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Summer concert series normally under way this time of year have been canceled due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. A vendor for many of the events came up with an alternative option for outdoor live music that includes social distancing measures.

North Fulton cities, like others around the metro Atlanta area, had hoped for a continued gradual return to annual summer activities following the statewide shutdown earlier this year. They have now pulled back on full reopening plans and announced the cancellation of several music series.

Roswell canceled its Riverside Sounds Concert Series at Riverside Park and the Music on the Hill series outside City Hall.

Sandy Springs’ Concert by the Springs and City Green Live music series will not take place.

In Alpharetta, James Casto, leader of the music group Home by Dark, had eight concerts scheduled at Brooke Street Park this spring and summer. The band usually features a singer-songwriter as a special guest, often from Nashville.

Casto also planned to invite the community to come to the eight-member band’s rehearsals at Alpharetta Arts Center. The band’s Alpharetta events are canceled at least through August and though Brooke Street Park concerts are currently scheduled in September, Casto is uncertain that city officials will allow them to take place.

City council members will decide in August, he said.

“Opening the rehearsals, that was going to be new for us,” Casto said. ‘We all have a good attitude about it. We’re just trying to keep it rolling.”

Johns Creek’s Summer Concert Series at the Mark Burkhalter Amphitheater in Newtown Park have been on hold since May. But performances are scheduled for the Georgia Players Guild on Aug. 29 and the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 3.

Scott Harb, owner of Oak St. Bottle Shop, has been a beer and wine vendor at the concert series in Johns Creek and Roswell for several years, and planned to start selling at the Concerts by the Springs shows in Sandy Springs this year.

With shows canceled, Harb is holding free live music entertainment on Fridays in the parking lot of his business with tents and tables spaced 6-10 feet apart. The bottle shop owner said up to 80 people can be socially distanced on the 30,000-square-foot space.

Music is performed 6-10 p.m., family friendly and pets are allowed, he added.

Every other Friday, Harb offers free food such as burgers or wings which are prepared outside. Beer and wine is sold inside. No hard liquor is sold at the bottle shop.

“People feel safer with everything outdoors,” he said. “This isn’t usually the last stop for people. They might leave here and go downtown to Canton Street.”

Musician Tim Tyler performs on keyboards, harmonica and guitar this Friday. Trumpeter Joe Gransden’s quartet usually performs on the third Friday of the month. Harb said he posts upcoming artists on social media.