Greensburg’s SummerSounds wraps up ‘best season ever’
Greensburg’s SummerSounds concert series celebrated its 20th season with one of its best years, according to Chairman Gene James.
The cumulative headcount for the free 13-week series at St. Clair Park was about 34,000. That’s close to the previous record set in 2016, despite that year’s concert series having one extra show.
“Best season ever by far,” James said. “We cheated a little bit because we brought back the bands that were most popular in the last 20 years.”
This year’s SummerSounds celebrated the series’ history by bringing back fan-favorite acts from the last two decades. Some musicians were out of the series reach — having grown more popular and expensive since they first appeared in Greensburg — but many were happy to make a repeat appearance, James said.
The most popular act, however, was new to Greensburg. Leonid and Friends, a Chicago tribute band from Russia, drew more than 8,000 attendees. “We had people sitting on the sidewalk, in the street, over the hill where they couldn’t see the stage,” James said.
That’s more than double most of the seasons’ shows, rivaled only by Eagles cover band 7 Bridges, which played the first concert of the season.
Leonid and Friends was much more expensive than most SummerSounds band, James said, but the expense paid off. Donors contributed almost $7,000 during the show, the highest total of the season by far.
Overall the series raised about $30,000 in donations, a new record.
Heavy rainfall dampened SummerSounds’ attendance in the last few years, but that finally changed in 2019. Only one show was rained out, with a paltry 300 people braving the weather to see jazz artist David Bach. Every other show drew 300 people or more. Soon it will be time to start planning SummerSounds’21st season. James said he wants to continue the series eclectic blend of musical styles that provides something for everyone.
“There is a continuous effort of SummerSounds to evolve,” James said. “I’m guessing if we let the audience choose the band, we would have 10 doo-wop shows a year, but while that’s pleasing, it’s a march into the grave.”
He wants to mix in new discoveries with old favorites.
“We try to make sure we always have something a little younger and edgier, so we still have an audience in another 20 years,” he said.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .