Bristol officially cancels its Fourth of July concert series

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 7/22/20

There will be no waterfront concert series in Bristol this summer.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share that the 2020 Concert Series is officially cancelled,” wrote Michele Martins, …

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Bristol officially cancels its Fourth of July concert series

Posted

There will be no waterfront concert series in Bristol this summer.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share that the 2020 Concert Series is officially cancelled,” wrote Michele Martins, general chairman of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, in a statement last week. “The Committee has remained committed to plan with flexibility and adaptability to follow through with guidance to allow for social distancing.”

With Covid-19 still very much a threat, social distancing meant that the concert series’ usual Independence Park venue would be too small. Realizing this, the committee did its best to adapt. They first identified a Colt State Park site that was, according to Ms. Martins, “about six times the size of Independence Park.” Recognizing that they would still need to enforce a limit on the crowd size, they investigated the idea of sectioning the space into “pods” and ticketing each pod — an idea that received a lukewarm response from a sampling of longtime concert attendees.

“Between resistance to having to exclude people to safety, we thought it best just to let it go this year,” said Ms. Martins. “It was one thing to keep the parade socially distant, and that was important to maintain our tradition. But the luxury of a concert series — especially the week before school is set to resume — that did not make sense.”

“We wanted to do what is best for the community.”

The Fourth of July Committee still has several events on its schedule for 2020. The annual photography contest will be accepting submissions through 8 p.m. on Aug. 3; there will be a cornhole tournament at the VFW hall at 11 a.m. on Aug. 15; and the golf tournament will be held at the Swansea Country Club on Aug. 16.

The Fourth of July Ball remains scheduled for Aug. 21, but the committee is awaiting a green light from the state before finalizing those plans. Fireworks, with a date to be determined, have also not been taken off the table for 2020.

To stay up to date or register for any of these events, visit the Fourth of July Committee’s website at  www.fourthofjulybristolri.com.

Ms. Martins said that planning for 2021 begins in September, and the committee is looking forward to building on the success that was this year’s parade, even with the mountain of restrictions they faced. “If there was a silver lining, it was that we saw what it was like when we had to strip it down,” she said. “And maybe we don’t need to have something be a part of the parade just because that’s how we’ve ‘always’ done it.

“So maybe we needed that.”

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.