Blues on the Mall moving back downtown

Blues on the Mall hasn't been held at Rosa Parks Circle since 2014. Courtesy

A longtime outdoor blues concert series is moving back to downtown Grand Rapids this summer.

After five years of hosting the event at Deltaplex Arena parking lot in Walker under the name 97LAV Summertime Blues, WLAV-FM 97 will bring back its annual summertime blues concert series, Blues on the Mall, to its previous setting: Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.

“By popular demand, we’re thrilled to bring our heritage event back to the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. When we moved away five years ago to work with our great partners at the Deltaplex, our fans showed in up in droves but still continued to let us know how much they missed enjoying live music downtown,” said Rob Brandt, program director at WLAV.

Bruce Law, vice president of Cumulus Radio West Michigan, WLAV’s parent company, said the city of Grand Rapids recently approached his organization with a plan to move the event back downtown.

The event — which is in its 28th year — will be held on three Wednesday nights this summer: June 17, July 15 and Aug. 12, as opposed to the nine-night run it had in 2019.

WLAV said this is so it would have the budget to “bring in bigger acts,” as well as to add a 4:30 p.m. pre-show, “Tony’s Homegrown Happy Hour,” hosted by WLAV morning show host DJ Tony Gates and featuring local bands prior to the main event.

Concertgoers also will be invited to an after-party at a local bar with prizes, giveaways and more live music after the two headliners’ acts end at 8:30 each night.

The series’ 2020 lineup will be announced at a later date.

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