LAYTON — In what might be considered equal parts optimism, stubbornness and hope, the Davis Arts Council has just announced its lineup for the 2020 Summer Nights With the Stars concert series.
Released Thursday morning, March 26, the list of this year’s concerts in the outdoor Kenley Amphitheater will include Marie Osmond, Three Dog Night, Air Supply, and a dozen other artists representing everything from bluegrass to rock to comedy.
“We’re announcing now, and hoping for the best,” said Davis Arts Council executive director Tessa Vaschel, who acknowledges that they’d considered delaying the announcement and waiting to see what happens with the social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the end, however, the arts council decided to go ahead and announce the season, according to Vaschel.
“In some ways, it almost feels like we as a people — and we as the friends and neighbors who attend concerts at Kenley — need something happy and hopeful and optimistic right now,” she said. “Many of our friends and patrons have been calling, emailing and going on social media, saying they can’t wait to hear what’s happening this season.”
Vaschel acknowledged that it’s hard to be releasing the season in the midst of the pandemic, because things can change rapidly. However, she said if there are any changes, they will let patrons know as soon as possible.
“The problem with a disaster on this scale, it’s not like a fire or flood, where it happened and now you can rebuild,” she said. “This is ongoing and constantly changing, and in a lot of ways the worst may be yet to come.”
Vaschel stressed that insuring the “health, well-being and safety” of the artists, audience members, volunteers and staff is her No. 1 priority.
Vaschel said the governor recently released his statewide plan for dealing with COVID-19, and that the initial “reaction and containment” timeline was eight to 12 weeks. With the season’s first concert scheduled for June 11, Vaschel admits they could be cutting it close.
“The problem is, at that time we were 13 weeks away from our start date,” she said. “It’s completely unpredictable, but if everything goes as the best-case scenario, we could be OK. If not, it’s possible we’re going to have to reschedule some events — either later in the summer or even 2021.”
Here’s a quick rundown on the 2020 Summer Nights With the Stars concert series:
June 11 — The Everly Set. Sean Altman and Jack Skuller perform the music of The Everly Brothers. ($10-$30)June 17 — Leahy. This Canadian band is among the most highly regarded progressive folk-roots bands, playing a style of celtic-folk fusion. ($10-$30)June 20 — Marie Osmond. The platinum-selling artist from Utah, who launched her own career with the country crossover song “Paper Roses” and has spent five decades in music and television, will be backed by a 30-piece band. ($60-$90)June 25 — Sons of Serendip. This Billboard-charting quartet, which first came to national attention on “America’s Got Talent,” features harp, cello, piano and vocals. ($10-$25)July 8 — The Barefoot Movement. This Nashville-based group has been called “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene.” ($10-$20)July 11 — GENTRI. The “Gentlemen Trio” consists of three tenors who’ve become a fan favorite in Layton. ($30-$70)July 18 — The Greatest Piano Men. A seven-piece band and three pianos celebrates the hits of Elton John, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Carole King, Stevie Wonder and more. ($15-$35)July 20 — Jeff Allen. This popular comedian from the Dry Bar Comedy circuit offers rapid-fire humor centering around marriage and family. ($15-$35)July 27 — Asia, featuring John Payne. The iconic rock group from the 1980s gave us “Heat of the Moment” and other hits. ($20-$50)July 30 — Gone West, featuring Colbie Caillat. A two-time Grammy winner, Caillat’s Gone West offers a new sound in country music. ($30-$60)Aug. 5 — Dennis Edwards’ Temptations Revue. Celebrate the music of Motown with this concert featuring Edwards’ tribute to the band he spent three decades touring with. ($15-$35)Aug. 22 — Air Supply. The famed easy listening duo will perform “I’m All Out of Love” and other pop hits. ($45-$65)Aug. 25 — The Brit Pack. Hear a tribute to many of the classics from British bands, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, The Who, Amy Winehouse, Radiohead, The Police, and more. ($10-$20)Aug. 27 — Diamond Rio. The 1990s country group will perform hits like “One More Day” and “Meet in the Middle.” ($35-$55)Sept. 4 — Three Dog Night. A performance by the legendary band that produced such hits as “Joy to the World” and “One.” ($30-$60)
Vaschel said one of the real strengths of the 2020 Summer Nights With the Stars season is the diversity.
“In planning the season, one of the biggest considerations is the overall shape of it,” she said. “Because we’re an arts council, I think it’s important to bring a wide variety of genres and performers. And this season does that, which is really exciting to me.”
Arguably, the biggest show of the season is the Marie Osmond concert on June 20. Vaschel said they’ve had requests for her to perform in Layton for years, but they’ve never been able to make it happen.
“Fortunately, this year we had a date open, and she had the same date open,” Vaschel said.
Along with new and returning artists, Vaschel said one of the concerts she’s most excited about is The Brit Pack on Aug. 25.
“I think the real sleeper in this group is The Brit Pack, featuring artists who do a tribute to British rock — from the British Invasion to now,” she said. “They did 20 songs in 20 minutes at a showcase I attended, and they nailed every single on of them. Any British rocker you can think of, they do.”
Davis Arts Council also offers free outdoor movies and free Sunday concerts throughout the summer. Vaschel said the amphitheater turns 25 years old this year, so the Sunday concerts — when they happen — will feature a lot of fan favorites from over the years.
Vaschel said they’ll announce those two scheduled in the next couple of weeks and “hope for the best.”
“We’re just really excited for the season,” she said. “One of the things I love most about what we do is that our audience or patrons really are a community. And even though there’s a lot of chaos in the world right now, bringing that community back together this summer is one of the things I’m most excited about.”
For tickets or more information, visit davisarts.org, or call 801-546-8575.