Live outdoor concerts return, ‘People are so hungry for it’


INDIANAPOLIS — Live in-person concerts return to Central Indiana in a big way this weekend. Saturday Jimmy Buffet will take the stage in front of thousands of eager fans at the Ruoff Music Center with no masks and no social distancing guidelines. 

Another concert hit the stage Friday evening but with many familiar COVID protocols still in place. 

Indy Parks ‘Rock the Ruins’ concert series at Holiday Park along Spring Mill Road welcomed a little over a thousand in their fifth of nine concerts this summer.

“COVID was not the best,” Ava Connell said while sitting on the lawn waiting for the concert to start with her family. “It’s fun being back out and to see people’s faces, again, it’s comforting. It feels somewhat normal again.”

Back to normal is the goal – but it looks a little different while sitting in a pod section for four-six feet from anyone else. 

“We originally put these shows on sale back in April or May when the restrictions were more strict… and in order to honor those commitments to fans, you know, we’re continuing to seat it the way we are,” The Vogue Partner Eric Tobias said. “People are dipping their toe into the water and, yeah it’s just wonderful… look around and see people. Turns out it’s going to be a beautiful night.”

Despite Marion County’s mandates having ended a week ago, according to the Rock the Ruins concert series, social distancing and masks are still required – but not enforced.

“We’re following Marion County guidelines and Indianapolis Park guidelines and so, no, it’s not being enforced tonight. However, again, when the show was put on sale that was the restriction, so we want to be consistent,” Tobias said. “Having an artist on the stage and having that connection with fans and bringing the community together again, it’s awesome to be back.”

The feeling is mutual because all five concerts held so far and the next in the series, Saturday July 10; have all sold out. 

“There’s been very few times in my time at Indy Parks that I’ve had people show such joy for what we are offering because everyone wants to feel like we’re living life in a normal way again,” Holiday Park Manager Dan Boritt said. “We know this is what the community wants and needed so we’re happy to be a small part of getting people back to what they want and need. We welcome everybody back with open arms.”

Seated in a pod or standing in the pit, the music sounds the same, folks are just happy to be listening to it again, together. 

“Hearing a concert again. I haven’t been to a concert in… I think two years maybe, maybe more. Just hearing a person singing live to me,” Connell said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed it.”

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