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And the Band Did Not Play on Pandemic Silences Concerts in Antigo, White Lake

April 29, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed one of Antigo’s most cherished summer events.

The committee for the summer Music in the Park concert series has announced that due to uncertainties about when Safer-at-Home guidelines will be lifted, along with concerns about large group gatherings, the series will be canceled for 2020. “With the uncertain times that we are going through, the committee has decided to cancel for 2020,” the committee said in a message on its Facebook page. “We are working diligently to reschedule everything for next year, 2021. We hope to keep the schedule similar to this year.” 

The committee is exploring options for some sort of “virtual” concerts, but a range of technical and funding issues remain to be worked out.

The cancellation covers all concerts at the Antigo City Park bandstand and the White Lake Historical Society Depot platform, Elcho is currently planning to continue its outdoor concert lineup, with officials there stressing the spaciousness of the Community Pavilion.
 

Hip Pocket performs at a previous Music in the Park. The bandstand will be empty this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the years, Music in the Park has grown from a once-a-week concert with local musicians into a true summertime series, adding the title “acclaimed” to its name.

The concerts have brought hundreds—at times a thousand or more—people to City Park for music, pie, ice cream, and cookouts. It has become a major economic boost for local businesses as well as the dozens of volunteer organizations who sign up to serve refreshments.

But officials stressed that under the state Badger Bounce Back plan, it would have been difficult to meet the various testing and social distancing criteria to allow the concerts to move forward.

This year’s lineup, still in the final planning stages, had included such popular bands as the big Hip Pocket ensemble, Community Band, MLC Blues Band, Slidin’’ on Ice, and many others, including the Community Band and Elvis and Family.

The still-scheduled Elcho lineup includes Slidin’ on Ice June 3; Quarry Road, July 1; Fran the Piano man on July 15; Bear Creek Band, July 29; Max Koepke on Aug. 12; and Bobby Vintage to cap the season on Aug. 25.

Another victim of the virus is the Kids from Wisconsin tour, which had been scheduled to come to Antigo on July 21. 

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