VOL. 126 | NO. 124 | Monday, June 27, 2011
A story from The Memphis News
On newsstands throughout the city
Garden Hosts 11th Summer of Concerts
JONATHAN DEVIN | Special to The Memphis News
Top to Bottom: Huey Lewis and The News, Michael McDonald, Goo Goo Dolls, Boz Scaggs
For a summertime concert series in Memphis, the act playing is only half the story. The big draw oftentimes is its location.
Live at the Garden, the biggest annual fundraiser for the Memphis Botanic Garden, kicked off its 11th season among the fields, trees and blossoming flowers that make its venue more like a garden party than a concert.
“It’s not like buying a ticket at the FedExForum and going to the concert,” said Sherry Misner, co-director of Live at the Garden. “Our experience is like a garden party – it’s outside, it’s a picnic and you can bring anything you want to eat or drink.”
All five concerts, which run through mid-August, offer table and lawn seating, allowing for lots of freedom of movement, though table seats have already sold out.
The concert venue is constructed behind the Memphis Botanic Garden in Audubon Park. While the lawns stretch for several acres, Jumbotrons cast the concert onto movie theater-size screens throughout the park.
“The person on the very back of the lawn is still very engaged,” Misner said. “We like that we’re a unique experience that way.”
In choosing artists for the lineup, Misner explained that transportation logistics and routing are as important as popular demand for their music. Often she books acts that are playing in Atlanta before or after their garden appearance. Others are a complete surprise.
“We always have our wish list with about 30 people on it,” Misner said. “You never know what’s going to be thrown at us during the middle of the season though that we didn’t think would be possible like Diana Ross last year.”
Generally she looks for favorites from the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, whose songs the audience can join in and sing along. The season continues June 25 with the Steve Miller Band.
On July 8, Michael McDonald, who has played the garden twice before will return for a dual performance with guitarist Boz Scaggs. Huey Lewis and the News will take the stage for the second time on July 22 followed by the Goo Goo Dolls with Michelle Branch on Aug. 12.
Lawn seating tickets for Live at the Garden are $44 plus a handling fee and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or by calling the garden’s box office at 576-4107 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily or between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. the week before each concert.