Tony Bennett Kicks Off New Live at the Garden Season

By Andy Meek

Tony Bennett, Robert Plant and Foreigner are among the top-drawing acts scheduled to perform at Memphis Botanic Garden during the Live at the Garden 2013 concert season, which kicks off June 1.

Rounding out the list of performers for the annual outdoor music series this year is R&B funk band Earth, Wind & Fire as well as the up-and-coming country group The Band Perry.

Before revealing the 2013 lineup to an early-evening crowd inside a packed Hardin Hall, Memphis Botanic Garden executive director Jim Duncan promised, “This is the best one we’ve ever had.” The meeting room was almost standing-room only as the list of artists was revealed, and the audience clapped and cheered as each name was announced.

The series that begins in June marks the 13th season for the concert series, which is a major event for the botanic garden. The series attracts more than 30,000 attendees each year, and investment firm Duncan-Williams Inc. is not only the title sponsor for 2013, but firm president Duncan Williams said the firm is close to finalizing a deal to extend its support of the series through 2018.

“This is one of the most diverse lineups that we have ever had, which we are very proud of,” said Live at the Garden co-director Sherry Misner. “That has always been the goal for Live. Some years it just works out better than others. Live at the Garden, from the beginning, was created to be an event, not just a concert.

“I hope that this year’s lineup shows that there is truly something for everyone at Live at the Garden.”

The concerts begin with classic crooner Tony Bennett June 1, followed on June 15 by Earth, Wind & Fire and former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant on July 13. The final two acts, The Band Perry and 80s rock band Foreigner, will play on August 23 and September 20, respectively.

At the same time as officials revealed the new season lineup, they also gave a further peek at plans on the drawing board for a permanent stage that will replace the need for Live at the Garden to essentially create its own physical venue each summer.