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Free summer concert series brings local artists together to celebrate community, help Twin Cities small businesses

Lowertown Sounds returns to Mears Park on Thursday nights from June through August.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — If you love live music, then St. Paul is where you'll want to be this summer. Lowertown Sounds, a free concert series, returns to Mears Park on most Thursday nights starting on June 1. 

What sets Lowertown Sounds apart from your average concert series is it features all local bands and performers from a mix of genres. 

"Every week there’s something different," explained Clint Roberts, founder of Lowertown Sounds. "So, we have people who show up because they love the event, they love the show, they don’t know what the music is going to be, but they’re there to explore. They’re there to find the adventure sonically if you will."

Aside from live entertainment, you can have your fill from eight to 10 different food trucks and beverage tents. There will be a variety of local beers and wine available, too. Plus, a portion of proceeds and sponsorship dollars benefit the Twin Cities Metro Independent Business Alliance (Metro IBA).

Credit: KARE

"We thought they'd be a good partner for us to help steward what their mission is and help us support and foster smaller businesses and independent businesses in the Twin Cities," said Roberts.

He says finding the right lineup of performers is a passion project. 

There are usually 300 bands who apply to play. "Our goal is to always have fresh and new bands come in every year, but also really stretch the genres," said Roberts.

One of the standout bands is the Flamin' Oh's. 

"We treasure those opportunities, especially in this day and age," said Robert Wilkinson, lead guitarist and singer for the Flamin' Oh's. "We've been through some hard stuff and one of the purposes, what we always try to do when we perform is to bring a lot of love and light and joy to the event."

WATCH: Below is a live acoustic performance of "Big Love" by Flamin' Oh's lead guitarist/vocalist Robert Wilkinson.

The band has been a part of the Twin Cities music scene since 1980. Wilkinson says Lowertown Sounds is one of the shows his band looks forward to the most. 

"We just come and try to create this chemistry, this connection, this exchange of energy between audience and artist, and it’s truly amazing," said Wilkinson. "There’s so much love, light and great energy in the air. It feels like by the end of the performance, we’re all floating up off the ground a foot or two."

That's exactly the vibe that Roberts is looking for. 

"Lowertown Sounds is about bringing people together. It really is about celebrating community," he said.

Besides the Flamin' Oh's, other headliners include Kiss The Tiger, Nur-D, The New Standards, Salsa Del Soul, Good Morning Bedlam, Turn Turn Turn and Run Westy Run.

The free concert events will be Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., starting June 1 and running through Aug. 24 (excluding June 29 and July 6). Visit www.lowertownsounds.com for the full music schedule.

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