Music in the Park

This summer concert series began in 2002 as a collaboration among the Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce and City Tourism. Between May and August we host a variety of local and touring performers, typically scheduled on Thursday evenings at Central Park, in conjunction with the Farmer's Market. 

The Arts Council arranges the schedule, recruits sponsors, books musicians, promotes the event, and supervises each performance. Work on the concert series typically begins in January.  Local support helps underwrite the performance fees of the musicians.

Past performers include Grinnell's own Too Many String Band and Turlach Ur, polka favorites Barefoot Becky and the Ivanhoe Dutchmen, and Iowa legends Bob Dorr and the Blue Band. 

If you are a performer and would like to be considered for the coming year, or your business would be interested in sponsoring one or more evenings of the concert series, please contact us

2017 Season Preview

Another year without our beloved Central Park! We can’t wait to be on that new stage, but until then we’re gonna keep the music coming -- this year on our own front lawn!  


JUNE 1  Jackie Myers

Jackie is a Grinnell College alum and a Music in the Park veteran. This will be her fourth time performing her groovy, soulful brand of jazz at the summer series. Along with a rhythm section from Iowa City, she’ll provide the perfect soundtrack the Grinnell community as well as alums of all ages back on campus for reunion!

Listen to her new album here

JUNE 8 - 29 Community Band

Our very own Community Band takes over for the rest of June. They will perform a variety of marches, overtures, ballads, and show-tunes. Anyone can join the Community Band -- you show up and you play. It’s good ole, homegrown music-making with your neighbor! E-mail info@grinnellarts.org if you are interested in playing this season.

JUNE 8 Too Many String Band

Too Many String Band will open the June 8 performance. Your favorite local folk group with their ever rotating line-up has earned a loyal following throughout their many years of performances. Playing both original material and folk standards, their mighty vocals and instrumentation are perfect for this summer series.


JUNE 22 Pink Neighbor

You may know this duo from their work at the Arts Center, but local musicians Katie In and Erik Jarvis also perform original music as Pink Neighbor. Their well-crafted songs feature close harmonies and unexpected arrangements.



JULY 6 Prairie Jewel Dixieland Band,  Turlach Ur

We keep it local as we move into July with Prairie Jewel Dixieland Band and Turlach Ur. Named after one of Grinnell’s own nicknames, the Prairie Jewel Dixieland Band plays American roots music, steeped in swampy trombone and saloon-worthy piano. Still primed from their 2016 trip to Glasgow, Turlach Ur will perform a variety of pipe and drum music. Come for the bagpipes, stay for the kilts!


JULY 13 Mesonjixx
Omaha-area singer Mary Elizabeth, aka Mesonjixx, will bring her smooth R&B sound to Grinnell for a night. One of the hottest up-and-coming artists from the Omaha-Lincoln music scene, Mary has a fantastic voice and songwriting sensibility, with a live band to match her talents.


JULY 20 Route 66

We’re back to locals with Route 66 the following week. With an abundant and well-polished repertoire, the blues and rock veterans have all the tricks for you to get your kicks. They feature Grinnell’s own Dave Elliot on guitar. When he’s not playing brilliant and tasteful solos with Route 66, he runs Grinnell’s own (and only) Music Shop.

JULY 27 The Maytags

Do you like big, blaring horn sections? Funky organ solos? Campy back-up vocals? Then this show is for you! The Maytags have been working hard in the Des Moines scene and are starting to receive some well-earned attention more regionally. Catch them at this (free) series while you still can!


AUG 3 Damani Phillips Quartet
We’re very excited to welcome Damani Phillips back to Grinnell! Damani taught jazz at Grinnell College for a few years before relocating to Iowa City, where he continues to educate, both in the classroom and on the stage. He’s a top notch saxophone player, and he’ll be joined by a pianist, bassist, and drummer.


AUG 10 Ben Bedford
This exceptional singer-songwriter has played in Grinnell before, both this series and at Saint’s Rest. A few people have specifically requested we bring him back, so we did! If you like honest songs that tell a story, you’re sure to like Ben.


AUG 17 Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen
Shoes optional, dancing and smiles mandatory. Those are the rules when Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen come to town. The shoeless polka queen and gang of balladeers had to play inside last year, due to rain. Hoping for sunshine this year!


AUG 24 Bob Dorr & the Blue Band

A concert of “finals,” our last show of the season features Iowa music legends Bob Dorr & the Blue Band, as they make one last stop in Grinnell on their farewell tour. This is one of your last chances to see this  legendary blues-rock band with horns, harmonica wails, and some of the best guitar playing around. 

Watch this incredible performance to whet your appetite