Summer is in full swing in Winnipeg, and one of the highlights of the season for many who work or live downtown is all of the outdoor concerts happening throughout the area on a regular basis.

While COVID-19 may have put a damper on some of the city’s higher-profile events and festivals for the second consecutive year, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has been able to launch its Downtown Concert Series — a free weekly showcase of local talent that will run over the next few months.

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“It runs every single Tuesday until Sept. 21,” the BIZ’s Lindsay Grieve told Global News.

“We had to kind of extend into the fall, but we’re hoping for some nice weather in September again this year.

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“It’s over the lunch hour, so it’s a free, outdoor concert. It’s open to the public — anybody who wants to come down.”

The series, which kicked off last week with bluesman Brent Parkin and pop pianist Kwiat on Tuesday, will take place at a number of different downtown locations, including True North Square, Workers Compensation Board Plaza and the Chinese Gardens.

Grieve said bringing music back to the neighbourhood isn’t only a big deal for Winnipeggers attending the shows, but for the musicians themselves, who have been waiting patiently through the pandemic for a chance to perform in front of an audience.

“We’ve been hearing nothing but excitement,” she said.

“(The musicians) have basically had two choices — they’ve either had to pivot to virtual shows, and it’s not always easy, it’s not the same. You don’t have that same personal connection as you would to a live crowd — or you’re just waiting and working on your music.”

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Upcoming performers include Phil Natividad, Cosmic River, Manitoba Underground Opera, Sochei, Rey Rose Hope, Joe Curtis, Brandi Vezina, Mitchell Makoons, Cassidy Mann, and Reynalyne Gacilan.

Full details are available at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ website.

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