As we prepare to kick off the 2020 outdoor summer concert series, “Rhythm on the Rails,” on Fri., June 26, we are faced with a very different world than last year’s successful concert series. From employees wearing face masks to adult beverages being served to guests at their seats, Lauren Jones, Discovery Park’s director of special events, and others at the museum and heritage park have been hard at work for weeks to create a safe place so guests can sit outside and listen to live music.
Lauren took a few minutes to answer some questions about putting together such a big event in the unprecedented times we live as everyone adapts their behavior due to the pandemic.
Question: Why did Discovery Park decide to proceed with a live music series?
Having an outdoor summer music series near the Depot is perfect because families can enjoy the wide-open space of the park, catch some fish, eat good food and listen to great talent while maintaining a safe, six-foot distance from other guests. We’ve had many of our members and people who live in the communities around Union City let us know they are eager for us to continue with the series, and after such a successful reopening of Discovery Park earlier this month, we decided we could apply those same health and safety policies and continue with the popular event.
Question: What sort of things are being done differently this year?
All Discovery Park teammates will be wearing masks, and we’re not having bars like we have had in the past. We’ll have enough of our folks working that can take drink orders from guests who will be able to spread out if they choose. We’ll also have a lot of hand sanitizer available for everyone. Our teammates also have their temperature taken before the shift begins and, of course, no one who has been exposed to anyone with Covid-19 is allowed to work.
Question: How have you known what policies make sense for Discovery Park?
We’ve been closely following recommendations from Gov. Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group, led by the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development Commissioner Mark Ezell. By taking the Tennessee Pledge, as they call it, we’re part of a bigger group of companies and organizations who are working with the medical community and state government to safely reboot Tennessee’s economy.
All of us here have found the Tennessee Pledge to be a careful, measured approach to get Discovery Park open once again while creating a safe environment for our teammates and guests.
Question: Who are some of the bands and performers booked for the series?
We’re kicking things off big with a performance by the Grammy award-winning blues band, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band. Other bands will be performing throughout the music series, including Tyler Goodson; Coby Watts and the AC43 Band; Kimberlie Helton Band; Johnny Mac and the Heart Attacks; Seeing Red; Clark Beckham; Brent Hinson and Matt Crosson; Steve Short and Keith Brown; Olivia Faye; Katie Thorpe Tohn and Kicking Keys with Roger and Barry; and Blair and Madison.
Question: What kind of food will be available?
The first night of “Rhythm on the Rails” is blues and brats night. Sabin’s Café will be grilling delicious brats, burgers and hot dogs for guests to purchase. The rest of the summer concert series will have a variety of food by Sabin’s Café and food trucks.