Your Summer of Music on the Lawn Starts Now!

Hello, I'm Colby Whitesides, director of musical programming for the Summer Music on the Lawn concert series, and, once again, I'm back to remind you of our wonderful upcoming shows!

First, though, a big Summer Music on the Lawn thank you to all who came out last night for our double bill of Judy Collins and Don McLean.

Or, I should say, was supposed to have been a double bill. Judy ended up not being to perform, as Don's performance of "American Pie" ran long.

But the remainder of our summer schedule promises to go off without a hitch. In fact, I bet you still have time to grab lawn seats for tonight's Sting concert. Or you can just stay at home, where the view of the stage is just as good.

Anyhow, we really do have a great summer ahead for everyone ages 52 to 55.

Our full schedule is up on our website, which is on the Internet this year, but I'd love to share a few highlights.

I'll start with the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty, who are playing joint bills two nights in a row in early August. Now, three people have asked us: "Is it worth it to go to both nights?" The answer is a definitive Yes!, as on the second night each band will be performing the other band's songs in hopes they sound better.

If the Dolls and the Twenty, as I like to call them, aren't your thing, well, I bet Tony Bennett is. He is coming back to Summer Music on the Lawn on August 22 to perform renditions of current pop hits that he hates.

Many of you have also inquired about the August 14 "Willie Nelson and Family" show. "Is he now in a band with his family?" you have excitedly asked. How cool would that be, huh? But the answer, unfortunately, is no. None of Willie's family members are musicians. Instead, they will be interrupting Willie's most famous songs to tell you about their jobs.

Now, I do also want to tell you about some important changes we have made.

In the past, we have looked the other way when concertgoers got up off their blankets to gently sway to our performers' more rocking tunes. But due to an overwhelming number of complaints from our seated patrons, this behavior no longer will be tolerated. If you must get up and gently sway during certain moments, our shuttle buses can take you to our new "Gently Swaying" section in a meadow one mile away.

We also this year reserve the right to only have our acts perform on the video screens, not actually on the stage. Our legal department requires we say that after last season, when ONE concertgoer noticed that Hall and Oates weren't actually at the venue but rather performing from their respective homes.

On a more positive note, we have a new deal in place. Every year hundreds of people who buy tickets to our shows decide on the day of performance to skip the show because traveling to Summer Music on the Lawn is such a hassle. This year, for the first time ever, tickets will be half off if you can tell us when you purchase them that you won't end up coming.

Lastly, it has come to our attention for the first time that our audience is quite, how should I say it . . . white. And that our performers tend to be white as well. And while everybody seems perfectly fine with this, we are instituting a "Diversity in Music" concert on August 8. Robin Thicke headlines.

So, come join us at Summer on the Lawn this summer. As we like to say around here . . . We've saved a spot three miles from the stage for you!

(Mark Bazer hosts the next installment of The Interview Show Friday, Aug. 2, at The Hideout, in Chicago.)