By Jan Merkcer

Is 2022 officially the summer of normal(ish)? Loudoun’s summer concert organizers think the answer is a resounding yes. And they’re ready to meet pent-up demand for outdoor concerts with a range of fantastic options from folksy singer/songwriters to rocking tribute bands. 

“This is our first ‘normal’ year since 2019. We’ve put more resources behind things. We have more national acts coming in,” said Rusty Foster, organizer of the Tarara Summer Concert Series. “I may be a little biased, but I think this is our best lineup this season.”

The series kicks off Saturday, May 28 with DMV ’80s tribute favorites The Reflex.

Foster says he’s used fan feedback to come up with a lineup of regionally beloved cover bands and nationally touring tribute bands. This year’s series ranges from longtime crowd favorites like The Reflex and Gonzo’s Nose (whose members come out of retirement once a year for the Tarara show) to new national acts like the New York-based Double Vision who pay tribute to the iconic 70s and 80s rock band Foreigner.

Foster said while his heart is firmly in the ’80s, his goal is to offer something for everyone. 

“I could listen to an ’80s cover band every week,” he said. “I love The Reflex, and I love opening the season with them.”

Foster has booked another regional ’80s favorite, The Legwarmers, for a July 2 Independence Day weekend show, but the series spans the decades, from oldies rock from The Fabulous Hubcaps to a ’70s dance party from Groovalicious to ’90s covers from White Ford Bronco who wrap up the series Sept. 24.

Foster, who owns the Bow Tie Strategies public relations and event management firm, has been running the concert series since 2017. He said there’s been some confusion about the status of the series since Tarara’s owners announced they were shutting down winery operations last spring. But the message in 2022 is that the concert series is 100 percent up and running as Tarara shifts from a winery to an events venue. The series will still offer Tarara wines for sale, along with beer and hard seltzer from Loudoun Brewing Company. Foster said Tarara’s owners have made upgrades to the concert space, clearing trees and refurbishing the dance floor for the new season.

Foster said the venue’s private tents have already sold out for more than half of the shows, and season pass sales are at an all-time high for early May—indications that Loudoun is ready to rock this summer.

The Tarara Summer Concert Series runs Saturday, May 28 through Saturday, Sept. 24. For tickets and a full schedule, go to tararaconcerts.com.

Organizers of Leesburg’s Acoustic on the Green concert series are also expecting high turnout this year as they focus on fresh faces and diverse musical offerings. Linda Fountain, events and community outreach manager for the Town of Leesburg, said Loudouners are ready to come together and experience music in the community at an outside venue.

“Last year, I don’t think people were quite ready to come back. I’m hoping people are excited as we are with this lineup,” Fountain said. “If you judge by the turnout at Flower and Garden, people are absolutely ready to get back to a more normal way of life and get out and do the things they’ve done in the past.”

Acoustic on the Green kicks off Saturday, June 4 with the Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band, and this year’s season features plenty of first-time AOG performers. 2022 also brings a record number of women to the stage, including blues and soul rising star Meisha Herron, folk-rock singer/songwriter Calista Garcia, Wammie-winning Americana performer Melissa Quinn Fox and Florida-based blues artist Georgia Randall. The list also includes longtime local favorites like Robbie Limon and Dave Mininberg.

“We were looking to branch out,” Fountain said. “We were looking for more of a diverse blend of music styles for the concerts this year.”

The Town of Leesburg’s Acoustic on the Green Series runs Saturdays from June 4 through Aug. 20. Admission is free. For a complete list of performances, go to leesburgva.gov.

Catch Local Favorites from Middleburg to Hillsboro and Beyond

Here’s a peek at some more of Loudoun’s favorite summer concert series. Be sure to follow Get Out Loudoun for updates throughout the summer.

Village at Leesburg keeps the music going every Friday and Saturday evening with its Plaza Party series hosting local and regional favorites all summer long. This weekend, fans can catch the Thistle Brothers Friday, May 13, and the Mark Scott Trio on Saturday. For May and June listings, go to villageatleesburg.com.

The monthly Middleburg Community Center concerts are a community favorite showcasing a range of local talent. The lineup is still being finalized, but the Crooked Angels will take the stage Friday, May 27 as MCC opens its pool and kicks off the summer season. Middleburg native Bryan Fox will close out the series Oct. 21. Go to facebook.com/middleburgcc.va for details.

Also in Middleburg, the National Sporting Library and Museum’s monthly Open Late Concert Series kicks off Friday, May 27 with blues from Fast Eddie & The Slowpokes. The series, held on the last Friday of each month through August, also features the Silver Tones Swing Band, Americana from The Knuckle Dusters and Nashville-based country duo Martin and Kelly. Go to facebook.com/nslm.102 for information and the 2022 schedule.

Hillsboro’s Music in the Gap concert series at the historic Old Stone School runs Friday evenings July 8 through Sept. 2 with old favorites and fresh voices. The weekly series kicks off with fan favorite Grateful Dead tribute band Born Cross Eyed and features a diverse range of genres, from high power brass from the Texas Chainsaw Horns to the West African-inspired big band sound from Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band to the popular Beatles cover band Mostly Fab. Go to oldstoneschool.org for the complete schedule.