Appreciating the Spectacular Summer Nights at the Victory Park Bandshell.

June 21, 2021

Bandshells have been used as stages across American for ages and have served their communities well. However, many have fallen into disrepair, only to be torn down or shut down while waiting for major renovations. And many of these are close to home.

For example, a historic park bandshell in Ann Arbor where The Grateful Dead performed in the 1960s recently shut down. A  little farther east, the Michigan State Fairgrounds Bandshell, very close to demolition, is being saved and relocated to a nearby park.

With the difficulty of keeping a city’s bandshell open, it’s fortunate that Albion has had such a majestic bandshell for so long. And that efforts have continued in keeping it updated.

The Victory Park Bandshell was constructed and completed in 1941, with the first concert performed there on October 12 of that year. It’s come a long way musically since The Star-Spangled Banner, the first number performed in the early days. Now, through the support of Caster Cares and other local sponsors, the Swingin’ at the Shell free music concert series has been attracting critically acclaimed bands from Michigan, the Midwest, and more.

Swingin’ at the Shell is a Caster CaresTM initiative that was created because of a passion for live music, the Albion community, and the Victory Park Bandshell. Its mission is to provide a variety of family-friendly musical entertainment to the community of Albion and the surrounding area while being good stewards of the Victory Park BandShell. With this mission in mind Swingin’ at the Shell hosted its first series in the summer of 2004.

A memorable, musical lineup.

Now in 2021, the musical journey continues. Whether it’s playing one of his latest hits or performing high-energy takes on classic covers, crowds loved the chance to see Detroit’s Prince of the Blues, Chris Canas on Aug 2. Next up, Fleetwood Gold took audiences on a musical journey through the best of Fleetwood Mac, from the early years through Stevie Nicks’ solo career on August 8.  Up next, Common Cords cast a magical and musical spell on August 15  through a variety of music and harmonies that were seeded and simmered in the roots of America.

August 22 featured the good-time party music of Toby Keith, performed by America’s #1 Toby Keith tribute artist and lookalike, Mike. On August 29, Organissimo performed beyond the tradition of the classic organ-led combos by infusing elements of funk, gospel, blues, progressive rock, and Latin rhythms into a solid foundation of jazz. Even more impressive was their outstanding performance even with a last-minute change in venue to the Bohm Theatre due to serious weather.

Next up was Moonshot, a classic & modern rock trio based in West Michigan that features three of the area’s most seasoned multi-instrumentalists. The Grand Finale was a crowd favorite from last year, the Phoenix Theory on September 12. Each member is a lead vocalist in his own right, and their harmonic combination and tight instrumentals ensured a great time and a remarkable musical experience.  And, as part of the festivities for this last concert of 2021, free hot dogs, chips, and drinks sponsored by Caster Cares were in ample supply. In the end, 2021 proved to be another Spectacular Summer Concert Series at the Victory Park Bandshell.


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