Mentor Rocks 2018 summer concert series lineup announced

Mentor has even more entertainment in store this year at its 1-year-old amphitheater.

The city this week revealed the lineup for its 2018 Mentor Rocks Summer Concert Series.

The series will kick off June 12 at the Mentor Civic Amphitheater with Journey tribute band Escape, which last year drew the largest crowd (more than 7,000 people) outside of the July 4 Soul Asylum/fireworks show.

The remaining bands and dates are as follows:

• June 26 — Ten(Pearl Jam tribute)

• July 3 — Jersey(Bruce Springsteen tribute)

• July 10 — The Legend of Johnny Cash Starring Philip Bauer (Johnny Cash tribute)

• July 17 — Kings Highway (Tom Petty tribute)

• July 24 — John King (Nashville recording artist)

• July 31 — Faction Cleveland (dance/party music)

• Aug. 7 — Wanted (Bon Jovi tribute)

• Aug. 14 — Purple Madness (Prince tribute)

• Aug. 21 — Brit Beat (Beatles tribute)

Concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, and admission and parking are free. The amphitheater is located behind Mentor Municipal Center at 8500 Civic Center Blvd.

More than 40,000 visitors attended shows in 2017, the inaugural season of the state-of-the-art amphitheater. The schedule was expanded to 11 weeks from seven because of the overwhelming response.

“Organizers have been hard at work making the experience even better for our guests,” Mentor Community Relations Administrator Ante Logarusic said. “Other changes, including expanded food offerings, are forthcoming and will be announced soon.”

Much thought went into planning the performances.

“We try not to book the same bands ever year,” Logarusic said. “This year’s lineup was chosen to offer concert-goers what we think is a pretty good variety and offers something for everyone.”

The city budgeted $40,000 for entertainment. Beer and wine sales, food vendor fees and sponsorships help to offset these costs. Lake Health has signed on as the series’ title sponsor for the next five years.

“As a community-based hospital, we invest in each of the communities we serve by supporting programs and events we believe will improve the health and well-being of individuals and families,” said Lake Health Service Line Marketing Manager Julie Strogin.

The city’s former Summer Concerts in the Park were held in a gazebo, razed to make way for the $2.5 million, 7,500-square-foot amphitheater featuring the latest lighting and sound equipment, and twin 14-by-7-foot retractable video screens.

The facility was built with the intention of creating a venue for the performing arts that would serve as a destination. Other free events have included performances by the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and Resonanz Opera.

New this year will be three all-day music festivals — featuring different genres — to be held the first Saturday in June, July and August.

Festivals will involve performances by three bands, beginning at 1 p.m. This is subject to change while the city finalizes the performers.

June 2 will be a rock theme and country July 7. Aug. 4 is yet to be determined.

“We will be having food trucks, and set up will be exactly like the Mentor Rocks program,” said Mentor Parks & Recreation Director Kenn Kaminski.

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Betsy Scott is a reporter with The News-Herald. Photo credit: Jonathan Tressler.

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