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Free Summer Concert Series Opens Park Run
concert crowd
A multi-generational crowd enjoys a free Summer Concert on the grass at Jacob Myers Park performed by a band from Merced. There were 13 vendor booths set up, including beer and food. News Photos By Ric McGinnis
The lead guitarist gets into his performance during the free Summer Concert on Friday night. The Wilbur Down Band from Merced kicked off what promises to be four straight Fridays of music in the park, along with vendors. News Photos By Ric McGinnis

A balmy Friday evening found concert goers entertained on June 7 as the Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department kicked off it four-week run of a free Summer Concert Series in Jacob Myers Park.

Thankfully, it was ahead of the triple digit heat forecast early this week, with the event formally starting with the arrival of vendors at about 5 p.m. this past Friday.

For the inaugural show, the Wilbur Down Band performed a one-hour set, beginning at about 7 p.m. and finishing just before dark, as the cool shade overtook the meadow where the crowd gathered, in front of the portable stage set up for the event.

Festival seating was the order of the day, with low backed lawn chairs or simply blankets used by the crowd. A few youngsters frolicked to the music on the grass just in front of the stage.

Made up of a bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and drums, the group was augmented, for one song at least, by the bass player’s wife, who was asked to come up on stage near the end of their set.

The vendors for the evening numbered about a dozen, including a food tent and a beer wagon with beverages by St. Stan’s brewery. Officials said a portion of the beer sales would be donated to a local non-profit group each week.

Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien and his wife, City Manager Sean Scully and his wife, and Councilman Luis Uribe were among those in attendance to help kick off the summer entertainment series.

O’Brien was asked how he thought the current free concerts in the park series compared with those from the past, which were held in the Community Center Park. He said the Jacob Myers Park location should provide more room for a larger crowd, as well as less disruption to local neighbors.

The band and the stage last Friday were pointed northwesterly, away from River Cove, which is directly across the river from the park, so it was aimed in the direction of Escalon, several miles away.

This week, it’s country night, with Valley Fire from Oakdale providing the music for the June 14 concert. Vendors again will open at 5 p.m. with the band playing from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.