With the recent warm weather, my thoughts have been turning to summer in the Black Hills. And among my favorite summer things here are the free street festivals. A warm evening, cold beer, live music, lively food and lots of people. You can’t go wrong.
Summer Nights in Rapid City is one of the biggest. This weekly Thursday night street festival began in 2008 on Seventh Street. Last year it expanded into a sprawling event that stretched down Main Street and Seventh Street. The first Summer Nights festival is scheduled for June 7, with Groove Daddy performing. It ends Aug. 30 with Pumpin’ Ethyl.
I haven’t heard what the new layout will be, but the new Main Street Square at Sixth and Main will likely play a bigger role in the 2012 lineup.
Downtown Friday Nights in Spearfish has really taken off. Initially, it was a once-a-month event. This summer there will be an outdoor concert every Friday night, beginning with Groove Daddy on June 8 and ending with Pumpin’ Ethyl on Aug. 31.
Organizer Scott Temple has been busy coordinating the acts so that 10 of the 13 bands will play Rapid City on Thursday night and Spearfish on Friday night. And some bands will add a third night to the tour, playing at the Deadwood Mountain Grand on Saturday night. That kind of coordination allows the Black Hills to attract bigger acts from farther away.
Also, the Black Hills host a number of one-time special events. Perhaps the biggest is Wild Bill Days in Deadwood. The Deadwood Chamber of Commerce just announced that Rick Springfield and the Marshall Tucker Band are booked for this year’s Wild Bill Days, set for June 15 and 16. Concert goers show up hours early to set up their folding chairs on Main Street and by show time the street is packed.