The 13-acre Excelsior Commons park area was designed with summer nights in mind, with public recreation space, playgrounds, swimming areas, sports facilities and restrooms flanking beautiful Lake Minnetonka in the heart of bustling Excelsior. It’s home to Art on the Lake, the hometown Fourth of July celebration, and countless smaller events. Summer concerts have been happening in the band shell for many years, but the free, family-friendly summer concert series known as Concerts in the Commons has officially had a spot on the calendar for the last few, sponsored by the city of Excelsior and its Chamber of Commerce.
This year the Rotary Club of Lake Minnetonka-Excelsior, the Community for the Commons conservancy group, and an independent event coordinator have stepped in with a few new ideas to help bring the 2018 concert season to life and—as they look to the future of the Commons—bring a little added revitalization to the downtown space. For this year’s concerts, they’re inviting more food trucks than there have been in the past and bringing extra promotional efforts and leadership to the events, hoping to draw even more out-of-towners and get Excelsiorites to come more often.
“If you get the right crowd, events like these really drive a lot more people downtown,” says Chip Cheney, former Rotary president. During concerts, you’ll find him and other Rotary members selling cold beer and wine alongside the local American Legion. “It’s really a festive atmosphere. The hope is that we do these events even better and bring more people into town more often—to frequent other businesses, too.”
During the concerts—whose musical guests cover everything from rock-country to cover bands to rhythm and blues—visitors of all ages spill out across the lawn, lawn chairs and coolers strewn about along with stray Frisbees. Kids run in packs, their sandals smacking their heels, through groups of neighbors catching up over beers and bratwurst. The smells of summer and lake breezes waft through the crowd, and there’s an easy feeling.
Pull up a chair!
Concerts happen from 7-9 p.m. at the Excelsior Commons band shell in the center of town. There’s no built-in seating, so bring lawn chairs or blankets. Refreshments—including beer and wine—are for sale, with proceeds benefitting the self-supporting events.
Catch a concert on one of these upcoming dates, and visit the event series' Facebook pages (Concerts in the commons) for an up-to-date schedule of performers.