Empty Pockets

Empty Pockets out of Chicago blazed through a set including The Eagles and Etta James for concert-goers at Riverside Park on Saturday for Party in the Park.

Riverside Park was a rockin’ place to be this weekend for Party in Park, featuring a social distanced show from Chicago product Empty Pockets and a livestream of the concert promoted by Vinton Parks and Rec.

“Saturday’s concert exceeded our expectations in a lot of ways,” Matt Boggess, Director of Vinton Parks and Rec said. “There’s a lot of emotions on both sides of the fence with regards to outdoors shows. However, I think everyone did a fantastic job of social distancing. Being able to enjoy an outdoor live event was fantastic.”

Staff members drew social distancing circles around the park for families to occupy and keep separate from others as patrons enjoyed takes on a bombastic Led Zeppelin tune and a funky rendition of the Etta James classic “At Last” from the Empty Pockets. Large LED screens were set up by Blue Sky Productions of Marion to allow more folks to view the show either in the park or live streamed to an estimated 600 screens at home.

“These social distancing circles have been trending in the industry with outdoor events in places like New York or Toronto,” Boggess said. “It was a great collaboration with Blue Sky to bring this concert to as many people as possible. There’s only a handful of companies in Iowa that do this and we figured this was the best way for everyone to enjoy the show.”

Concert-goers enjoyed food from the Vinton Lions Club as the tunes rolled out. Fireworks followed the show. While Boggess and organizers hope COVID-19 will not be a factor in next year’s Party in the Park, he learned plenty from this year’s concert to keep public health in mind going into the future of the popular summer event.

“Things went about as smoothly as possible this year with all these changes,” Boggess said. “If we had to do this all over again, we’d probably approach it pretty much the same way that we did quite honestly. We’re thankful for our sponsors and to our community for supporting us in-person online. We’re just happy to add something back to people’s summers.”

Check out photos of the show at vintonnewspapers.smugmug.com