What’s New This Summer: Rock Spectacles, Garden Concerts

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The undisputed highlight of every summer in the Mahoning Valley is  the Canfield Fair. That will again be the case this year, but it’s not the only outdoor entertainment option.

Outdoor concerts and festivals fill the calendar in the warm months. Most of them are familiar events that take place every summer on the same weekend. For a complete schedule, check out The List.

In recent years, the Y-Live concert has become a midsummer rival to the fair.

The annual concert in downtown Youngstown combines big-name acts with a festival vibe that got even better last summer when the event moved from Stambaugh Stadium to Wean Park.

This year’s Y-Live headliner is Kid Rock, with another strong draw in opening act Lee Brice, plus Buckcherry. All three acts are especially popular in this market and this summer’s concert is on pace to meet or exceed the 20,000-attendance mark, just as Luke Bryan did last year.

“Kid Rock sales are tracking ahead of any other Y-Live concert,” says Ken Bigley, vice president of JAC Management. He’s not surprised.

“When we sit down to book acts for Y-Live, we look for that big headliner, that once-a-year artist that Youngstown will react to,” he says. “Youngstown has always loved Kid Rock.”

Diversifying the musical genres of Y-Live acts was also part of the plan. Past concerts exclusively featured country artists and Kid Rock is the first rocker. But this year there is something for everyone, Bigley says.

“Youngstown loves Lee Brice, too,” he says. “Brice always sells well here and puts on a great show.”

The intangible draw of Y-Live is its festival aura. Thousands of fans came to downtown in the middle of the afternoon last year, filling bars and having tailgate parties in parking lots.

“We want that element of being a spectacle,” Bigley says. “People spend the whole day in Youngstown and the city is extra alive.”

Y-Live isn’t the only anticipated outdoor concert this summer. A handful of classic rock and R&B bands booked by JAC are coming to The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and selling well, Bigley says.

The list includes REO Speedwagon with Donnie Iris (June 21), Parker McCollum (June 22), The Doobie Brothers (June 28), Kool and the Gang (July 1), Rick Springfield (Aug. 4), and Steve Miller Band (Aug. 9). Tickets for Y-Live and all concerts at The Amp are on sale at ticketmaster.com and the Covelli box office.

Meanwhile, the grandstand at the Canfield Fair will host outlaw country star Koe Wetzel (Sept. 3) and legendary boy band Boyz II Men (Sept. 4). Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.


Tradition is part of summer, and the area’s many festivals and fairs become like old friends that return every year.

But there are a few new additions to this summer’s lineup.

In Columbiana, the beautiful new Idabelle Firestone amphitheater in Firestone Park will present a series of classical music concerts featuring acclaimed ensembles. It’s a first for the amphitheater, which opened last September.

Each 75-minute concert will be preceded by a local youth ensemble, according to Brenda Bradley, director of the series.

“It will combine the new and old,” she says. “I want young people to be appreciated by older people and their peers and to appreciate how many years it takes to become professional musicians.”

The series is being funded by Pat Tingle, a Columbiana philanthropist and head of the Tingle Family Foundation, which largely funded the renovation of Firestone Park. All concerts start at 3 p.m. on Sundays. Guests can bring a lawn chair or a blanket. Admission is always free but guests can leave a donation if they so choose.

Here is the schedule:

• June 25: Edelweiss woodwind ensemble.

• July 9: Allure string quartet.

• July 23: Bravura woodwind quintet.

• Aug. 13: Suburban Brass, a quartet from the Ashland Symphony.

• Aug. 27: Celtic Harps.


Another new summer concert series will take place at Eastwood Field in Niles.

The Summer Hits at the Ballpark series, sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and Moxie Events, will feature 10 evening concerts of music ranging from classic rock to Motown to country. Shows will take place on evenings that the Scrappers are not playing at Eastwood.

General admission tickets are $12, with the exception of the Signs of Life Pink Floyd experience concert, which will be $15.

Those who purchase a ticket before opening weekend will receive a voucher for a free ticket for any Scrappers game this season. Go to mvscrappers.com, call 330 505 0000, or go to the Eastwood Field box office.

Here is the schedule:

• June 9: Fresh Horses (Garth Brooks tribute) and American Ride (Toby Keith).

• June 10: The Magic of Motown.

• June 24: FMX, the Fleetwood Mac Experience, with Out of Eden (Eagles).

• July 8: Signs of Life (Pink Floyd).

• July 15: Rock of Love (Poison), Armageddon (Def Leppard), Jovi (Bon Jovi) and Panama (Van Halen).

• July 28: The Four C Notes (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons).

• (Miranda Lamberton and Chris Stapleton).

• Aug. 12: The Reid Project (Stevie Wonder), Too Hot (Kool and the Gang) and Let’s Groove Tonight (Earth Wind and Fire).

• Aug. 25: Earth to Mars (Bruno Mars), with The Prince Project.

• Sept. 3: My Kind of Party (Jason Aldean), with Keith Ormord (Kenny Chesney).

The ever-popular River Rock at The Amp series at Warren Community Amphitheatre will return for its 13th year this summer.

The tribute band series draws thousands on Saturday nights. Many favorites will return this year but also some new ones, says Alyssa Connelly-Bissett of Sunrise Entertainment. They include The Prince Project, which recreates a Prince concert; Forever Seger (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band); and No Fences (Garth Brooks). All concerts are $10, with the exceptions of E5C4P3, Wish You Were Here and Queen Nation.

Here is the schedule:

• June 10: 7 Bridges (Eagles tribute), with Huckin Fillbillies.

• June 17: Disco Inferno, with Old Skool.

• June 24: Prince Proiect (Prince), with No Funk No Justice.

• July 8: E5C4P3 (Journey) and co-headliner The Best of Times (Styx).

• July 15: Face 2 Face (Elton John and Billy Joel), with RDNA.

• July 22: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), with Invincible (Pat Benatar).

• July 29: Queen Nation (Queen), with Bad Juju.

• Aug. 5: Forever Seger (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band), with Back Traxx.

• Aug. 19: No Fences (Garth Brooks), with Chris Higbee.

• Aug. 26: Zoso (Led Zeppelin), with Harvest (Neil Young).

Pictured at top: A handful of classic rock and R&B bands booked by JAC are coming to The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and selling well.