By Jan Mercker

Loudouners are ready to let loose and have fun this summer, but safety is still front and center for many folks. The good news is that many of the county’s favorite outdoor summer concert series are back, offering stages for local and regional musicians while providing plenty of space for music lovers to spread out and kick back.

Acoustic on the Green

The Town of Leesburg’s beloved Acoustic on The Green series kicks off Saturday, June 5 after a COVID hiatus last summer and runs Saturdays through Aug. 28.

“Now with more people being vaccinated, and we know more about the virus and how it’s spread, people are ready to get out and start living normally again. I think the outdoor concert is the perfect place—it’s like the best of both worlds. You’re outdoors, you can social distance, but still do something fun that we’ve done in the past,” said Linda Fountain, events coordinator for Leesburg’s Parks and Recreation department.

Fountain works with outreach program coordinator Tony Conway to book bands in a range of genres that will keep audiences engaged.

“I think we’re going to have a good mix,” Fountain said. She and her team work to spotlight Loudoun-based bands, but also cast their net regionally to get a range of styles. 

AOG’s 2021 lineup brings back longtime series favorites like Todd Wright, Cal Everett and Gary Smallwood but also features numerous acts new to the series. Leesburg native Justin Trawick, who performs with his band The Common Good at AOG on June 19, returns to his hometown after getting national and regional attention for his quarantine livestreams and socially distant backyard concerts. Trawick’s innovative quarantine shows were featured in Parademagazine and The Washington Post. New AOG acts also include jazz saxophonist Lisa Fiorilli, soul and rock from Torrey B and Americana/rock from Julia Kasdorf. 

Fountain says many of the 2021 acts were booked for last year when the series was canceled, and she was thrilled to sign them on again. Fountain and her team also booked musical acts for the town’s Flower and Garden Show last month.

“The performers I spoke to were just so thrilled to be back on a stage playing for real people,” Fountain said.

The concerts are held at the Leesburg Town Green on Market Street. And while organizers had initially considered a move to the Loudoun County Courthouse this summer, relaxed social distancing guidelines allowed pivot back to holding the series on the green. Fountain advises concertgoers to monitor the town website for updates. 

Music in the Gap

In tight-knit Hillsboro, leaders are bringing music back to the Old Stone School, while creating opportunities to showcase the town’s new look after an extensive streetscape renovation project. Hillsboro’s Music Under The Stars In The Gap outdoor concert series returns to the Old Stone School Friday nights from July 2 through Aug. 27.

“I think everybody is really excited—we’ve got  a lot of pent up energy. People miss live music and being out and being with friends and neighbors,” said Mayor Roger Vance. “We’re getting really excited about bringing it back and having a great time.” 

The series kicks off with the Grateful Dead tribute band Born Cross-Eyed, a nod to the tiny town’s robust Grateful Dead fan base, which includes the mayor. Performances include bluegrass from Shannon Bielski and Moonlight Drive, blues from Hard Swimmin’ Fish and classic Rock from Calgary, the Loudoun-based supergroup of Cal Everett, Gary Smallwood and Todd Wright, along with other local and regional favorites. 

“We have a nice mix of bluegrass, rock, pop and jazz,” said Vice Mayor Amy Marasco, who adds that she’s looking forward to the Mostly Fab Beatles tribute scheduled for Aug. 20. 

The series also gives Hillsboro a chance to spotlight its new pedestrian-friendly vibe.

“We’re excited for people to come and see the town and walk the sidewalks,” Marasco said.

The series will feature locally made Moo Thru ice cream, food trucks and Loudoun wine and beer for sale. 

And while tickets aren’t required for lawn space, this year the town will be selling reserved tickets for premium table seating on the verandah at the Old Stone School. 

 “We have plenty of space to spread out. We’re really happy to support the musicians. I know it’s been hard on them,” Vance said.

Other Don’t Miss Shows

Loudoun’s wineries and breweries are also once again getting into the concert series act, going beyond the typical afternoon acoustic shows with full-blown festivals and big-name ticked shows. Tarara’s Summer Concert Series has posted its lineup of ticketed concerts for 2021. The series is slated to kick off Saturday, July 3 with popular ’80s tribute band The Reflex and runs Saturdays through Sept. 25, with a focus on tributes. Music lovers can choose from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s over the summer season or enjoy Beach Boys and Billy Joel tributes to let loose and rock out.

868 Estate Vineyards’ monthly Music Under the Stars series features classic rock from Special Delivery June 19, jazz with Emma Rowley July 17, Buffett-style fun with Tropical Attitudes Aug. 14, and wraps up with the beloved LoCo Musicians Festival Sunday, Sept. 5, a star-studded fundraiser for local musicians.

868 Estate this year also hosts the NOVA MusicFest benefit concert for the nonprofit Cancer Can Rock Sunday, June 13. Musicians including Jason Masi, Honey Larks, Dusty Rose and Jack Bond, Justin Trawick, Corey Campbell, Lauren Calve, Brennan Loveless, Michael Shepherd, Julianna MacDowell and Mike Ault, and Calgary for the nonprofit that brings musicians facing aggressive cancer into a studio with professionals to produce a song.

And B Chord Brewing continues its impressive lineup of ticked shows for national and regional acts throughout the summer. The (mostly sold out) DelFest Lite festival draws fans from around the country over Memorial Day weekend. Singer/songwriter Juliana MacDowell brings her Julesapalooza one-day mini-festival to B Chord Saturday, June 12, featuring performances by MacDowell, The Darby Brothers, the Bumper Jacksons and other favorites. The farm brewery has also announced shows by Yonder Mountain String Band and Leftover Salmon in July. The big shows generally sell out in advance, so start making plans and grabbing tickets as we move into the summer of fun. 

For a schedule and information about Acoustic on the Green, go to leesburgva.gov.

To learn more about Hillsboro’s Music Under The Stars In The Gap, go to oldstoneschool.org.

For tickets and a complete schedule for Tarara’s summer concert series, go to tararaconcerts.com.

For details on 868 Estate Vineyards’ Music Under the Stars series and benefit concerts, go to 868estatevineyards.com.

For tickets and a schedule for summer shows at B Chord, go to bchordbrewing.com.