Music is in the air, pretty much everywhere

· The Pulse
By Fawnda Mithrush
in the Arts Roundup
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As in-person events return to myriad outdoor settings, the summer staple of the moment may be the trusty lawn chair.

Outdoor music series are cropping up on every corner, with many of them encouraging patrons to bring along their own seating. Among some of the cozier settings are Alberta Avenue's Front Porch Series, Christ Church's Garden Concerts, and Opera Nuova's Tailgate Cabaret Series.

Robust local lineups featuring artists such as Celeigh Cardinal, Mallory Chipman, Martin Kerr, and F&M are on offer at this year's Taste of Edmonton, set to kick off July 22 at Churchill Square. Downtown Live is also back with weekly performances at the Downtown Farmers Market and almost daily shows at numerous venues throughout the core.

"It certainly feels weird that there's a return to live music and audiences," says the ever-ready Brent Oliver, event manager for Downtown Live.

A collection of Brasstactics band members holding instruments

Brasstactics are part of the lineup for the summer-long live music series with Downtown Live; catch them at Mercer Tavern on July 22. (Downtown Live)

"The only thing we can do as programmers and producers is ensure that the artists and audiences feel comfortable and safe while we transition back," Oliver continues. "The real key is going to be watching the numbers rise or fall along with large gatherings running parallel to double vaccinations. I remain optimistic, but it's a cautious optimism that could change depending on things."

And while returning to the swing of in-person programming can feel daunting for those balancing safety with intense public desire to just get back to normal already, Oliver notes that a healthy dose of connection is good medicine for us all.

"That all being said, it's been great to catch a couple live events already," he adds, "and proves to me just how much I missed it and need it in my life for my psyche and soul."

Plans for Symphony Under the Sky were announced this week, seeing the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra return to Hawrelak Park for an extended 10-day run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5. Concerts will be shorter and without intermissions to help maintain distancing and avoid crowding.