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Towns offering Music, Movies...
Under The Stars

BY ELLEN S. WILKOWE • DAILY RECORD • JUNE 13, 2008 - ( pdf )

It's the mad dash to jumpstart summer and you've pounced on every rite of passage under the sun. You've fired up the grill, whipped up that pitcher-perfect margarita, ignored gas prices and road-tripped to the Shore and now you're jonesing for an outdoor concert.

Well, look no further than your friendly, neighborhood gazebo. If you do not have a gazebo, one will be provided for you probably in the next town over offering a summer concert or movies series under a starry sky.

As large-scale outdoor venues tweak their schedules and prices, Morris County towns have been on the case on a smaller but equally talented scale. And did we mention most of the concerts are free?

Standing behind every outdoor concert is a local business or organization making possible the artists about to rock, jazz up or swing your summer.

The opportunity for classic rockers like The Kootz to break out from behind bars to under the stars is a welcomed opportunity.

"There is something wonderfully 'old-school' about playing to friends, neighbors and families, even the ones seeing us for the first-time, all coming out to enjoy our classic-pop and rock repertoire on a warm summer evening," Glenn M. Taylor of The Kootz wrote in an e-mail to the Daily Record. "It's the music that we all grew up with in the '60s and '70s and I feel that they are not only re-connecting with the essence of those times... but also 'passing the torch' of this historic-era in music to their kids through our musical interpretations in an open-air, 'All-American' idyllic setting."

Rich Ortiz of Captains of Leisure echoed those sentiments. The eight piece band, which includes a well-oiled horn section, provides a mixed bag of funk, rock, soul and blues that will bring you to your feet. We saw them in outdoor capacity at Festival in the Borough in Washington last summer.

"One of the most fun experiences for us is doing outdoor shows," he wrote in an e-mail to the Daily Record. "Many of these are true family-oriented events where groups of friends arrive with lawn chairs, blankets and coolers, and kids are free to run around without fear of breaking something. Few couples will ever forget the romanticism of cuddling up next to that special someone while listening to a tune that might one day become 'their song.'"

(Sigh.)

So remember to travel light -- a blanket and/or beach chair will do -- sit back and enjoy the shows.

No sunscreen necessary.