Rendezvous in the Park, Moscow’s toe-tapping summer music festival, will celebrate its 30-year anniversary next week.
Jim Boland, co-president of the Rendezvous board of directors, said he’s attended every year and the show can get pretty lively.
“It’s part of our (artist) selection process—you have to play music that people will get up and dance to,” Boland said.
Rendezvous will take place July 19-22 at East City Park and include the Sunday Classical Rendezvous performance by the Rendezvous Chamber Orchestra.
Rendezvous in the Park began in 1983 and was split over two weekends. Boland said the crowds grew so large that the board built another stage to allow the audience to get involved and better view the performances.
The evenings have been more energetic than some of the concerts past artists have been used to, he said, and many of them have expressed interest in coming back in later years.
“They really like the vibe in the park,” he said. “It’s a pretty special piece of Americana…most places, they don’t get (children) dancing on the stage with them and things like that. It’s got a little more flavor than the average show they put on.”
Jeff Kimberling is also on the Rendezvous board. He said he was involved as a sound technician when the event originated and being a board member the last several years has enabled him to stay in touch.
“It keeps me involved with musical events, which is why I became a live sound tech (more than 30) years ago,” he said. “This way I’m still involved with that type of event but without as much heavy lifting.”
Kimberling said it’s good to have an event in the summer for Moscow locals and visitors to look forward to. The event’s three-piece structure of headliner, opener and warm-up acts is relatively new. They try to get the biggest headline artists they can afford, he said, which usually means the artists are nationally known.
The openers—usually regional—have also always been offered. Rendezvous began pulling from the local music scene several years ago with a spring time battle-of-the-bands-esque “Showcase” concert, Kimberling said. The three audience favorites get to open three of the four Rendezvous evenings.
“We wanted to get local musicians involved, because they have a local following,” he said. “(It’s) kind of further connecting us with the community.”
Kimberling said they’re bringing back some previous crowd pleasers for the 30-year anniversary. One artist, Paul Thorn, was well-received by the Rendezvous audience four years ago, and he’s been featured on National Public Radio. Kimberling said Thorn appears on the edge of greater fame and he looks forward to the performance.
“He’s from Mississippi,” he said. “He’s kind of folksy and he’s kind of funny. He’ll tell you some ‘trailer park’ humor, either in his songs or between his songs. He’s got a great sense of humor.”
Boland said they try to offer assorted artists every year, including Native American performers and South American pan flutists, as well as acts of blues, soul, rock, bluegrass and others.
If you attend Rendezvous, Boland said, you’ll want to attend it again.
“When my family was growing up it was something (that) we never missed,” he said. “(You go) over there and the kids are playing in the sand, and music’s going on, and there’s great food and all your friends are there. It’s just a very cool thing to do.”
Tickets can be purchased online or at specific concerts.
The gates open at 5:00 p.m. and the concerts begin at 6:00 p.m. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. for the Saturday, July 21 concert at 5:30. Rendezvous is funded entirely by tax-deductible donations, and information about joining the Rendezvous Community Boosters can be found at the event website.
Matt Maw can be reached at email@example.com