It felt like we were truly running out of options with the latest news of another outdoor summer music series being officially cancelled for the summer. There will be no Uptown Friday Nights in 2020.

Interesting news out of Marion, however, as the Chamber of Commerce there says the "Uptown Getdown" concert series is still planned, with the new normal of "social distancing" theoretically in place. The event is going "on the road", so to speak, away from its usual location at City Square Park. Each Thursday night in August the featured band makes three different stops around town. The idea is for patrons to go to their nearest or preferred location, and not follow along on each one, in order to limit audiences for the shows.

The acts will perform three identical sets, starting at Lowe Park at 5:30 p.m. Then it's on to Thomas Park at 6:30 and they will wind up at Willowood Park at 7:30. Each set runs 40 minutes. The list of bands playing is as follows:

  • Aug. 6: Bamboozlers
  • Aug. 13: Katie & The Honky Tonks
  • Aug. 20: Boot Jack
  • Aug. 27: Casting Call

So, the Marion Chamber of Commerce has found what they believe to be a safe and certainly unique way to hold an annual live music tradition in the new world of a pandemic, and it all stays free of charge. The event is produced by the Marion Chamber of Commerce and Uptown Marion with support from the City of Marion and their various sponsors.

Chamber President Jill Ackerman told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, "we just knew we couldn’t do it in the (City Square) Park. We just thought of different ways. We still think there is something about live music that kind of elevates everyone’s’ mood. We didn’t want to have the Marion community miss out on that.”

She also mentioned how important it was to let these bands keep a gig, when they've lost so many because of the pandemic. Finally, she says "a dance area will not be encouraged. We will block off the trailer a ways out so people can’t approach the bands". In short, attendees will just have to do the "get down" part in their own personal space of the event area this year.

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