Summer rains chased eight bands from Johnson Park

— This may not have been the wettest summer on record, but it sure seemed to rain every Monday and Wednesday. Those are the evenings on which free concerts are scheduled at Johnson Park.

As the program director for Liverpool Is the place, a sub-committee of the Greater Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, I book those concerts and present the bands.

We book 24 performances from early June through mid-August, and this year eight of those concerts — fully one-third of the series — were negatively affected by threatened thunderstorms and a plenitude of precipitation.

Sammys Hall of Famer Joe Whiting waited for clouds to pass before starting his July 2 set, but had to throw in the towel when the rain returned after two songs, disappointing a crowd of more than 425.

The modern country band known as the Fulton Chain Gang, which hails not from the nearby city of Fulton but from the far-flung Fulton Chain of Lakes, canceled their July 7 concert after thunderstorms tore through the area.

A week later, on July 14, The Bear Cat Jass Band waited for rain to subside but 15 minutes past show-time as the drops continued to fall upon the already soaked amphitheater stage, bandleader Richard Ames called it off minutes before the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds.

Though discouraged by the wavering weather, I simply resolved that “the show must go on.” When rain descended again on July 23, we moved the Kambuyu Marimba Ensemble inside the Café at 407, adjacent to the park on Tulip Street. It would be the first of four concerts to be staged inside the coffeehouse.

Thanks to the warm hospitality of café manager Tony Burrows and kitchen manager Laura Hahn, Liverpool Is The Place also presented the rockin’ Christopher Ames Trio there on July 28, followed by Larry Hoyt & The Good Acoustics on July 30.

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