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Concerts to return this summer, predicted to help Amarillo economy and tourism

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:24 AM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Concert venues such as Starlight Ranch are preparing for their busiest season yet, which is expected to be much better than last summer when only three concerts made it on stage before the venue shut down.

“Trying to do concerts during the COVID time was really hard, it just wasn’t the same,” said Bobby Lee, co-owner of Starlight Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch. “Unfortunately, we ran with three shows last summer and then just shut it down like were supposed to and waited until next year. Now, every weekend from now until the second weekend of October we’ve got major bands, tribute bands...”

The venue is also excited to support small businesses and non-profits by giving them stands at their concerts.

“We’ll have food trucks and lots of nonprofits that we offer free space for them to do their fundraising on,” continued Lee. “It’s wide open.”

Lee is also hopeful a full concert schedule will bring more tourists to the city.

“So many artists are going through Amarillo 365 days a year, whether they’re going to Fort Worth, Nashville, Las Vegas, they’re coming through Amarillo,” he explained. “To be able to accommodate them on a route date, and the people that come to support...they come from the tri-state area which is really great because that helps tourism. They come for the weekend, they go here, they go see the musical drama Texas, they go to Wonderland, it’s a perfect weekend and it’s great for the economy.”

The City of Amarillo is also planning for their Starlight Theater - Free Music in the Park summer series.

The free concert series will feature local artists every Tuesday night at Sam Houston park.

“Last summer we were lucky enough to still be able to do it. It wasn’t as big as this summer will be,” explained Kristen Wolbach, coordinator of PR and programs for Amarillo parks and Recreation. “This summer we’re looking at a lot of new bands that we haven’t seen before, so were excited, but we also have a lot of favorites that will be back.”

Although concerts did go on last summer, they were at reduced capacity and had few vendors.

Similar to Starlight Ranch, Amarillo Parks and Recreation is excited to support small business vendors and non-profit organizations that will be in attendance once again.

“Something we will do is partner with local businesses, whether its food trucks (or) coffee vendors. We have some popsicle stands that are coming, and we have our nonprofits,” Wolbach explained. “We’re actually going to have some nonprofits organizations partner with us on some cool, different activities for us to do as well.”

The city is hosting 15 different concerts.

“We’re excited to see it grow this summer,” said Wolbach. “Last summer we had 12 different dates. This summer we look at having 15 different dates. It’s really going to be a family friendly event for ages zero to 100.”

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