Opinion: Summer Concert Series—the party’s over

Music in the air, and people everywhere put away their differences for a while.  It was just one of those nights—a marvelous collection of them, really—the Seal Beach Summer Concert series that closed Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.

Summer park concerts happen everywhere, but on the lawn next to the pier, it becomes special.

Mother Ocean comes crashing in only to calm down and settle, as if offering her blessing for what happens there.

I was present for a handful of them, starting with Gregg Young and the 2nd Street Band,?sponsored by The Abbey and the City of Seal Beach—where I arrived just in time to hear, “Let the Good Times Roll.”

They come to town to hear the band, on foot, bicycles, skateboards, cars, and carts.

Regulars arrive early, pushing strollers and pulling wagons loaded with supplies to get them through the night?with picnic baskets, coolers, an assortment of chairs, and enough blankets to stake out an area they will call their own until the music fades.

Members of the Miss Seal Beach Court move through the crowd selling 50-50 Opportunity Tickets.  The winner leaves with $750 cash!

There is not a bad seat in the house.  In fact, there’s not even a house.  And you have to bring your own seat.

You might find a spot up front with room enough for a couple of lawn chairs, or a place further back that’s big enough for family and friends.

The kids are the first to dance.  And then their parents and grandparents, all of them at one with the music.  It all sounds so familiar, no matter your age.

And those sitting behind TV trays, next to ice chests at the sidewalk, have no complaints.  Same for the people across the street who listen to the music from benches in front of Bogart’s Coffee House.  Or the Pierside Press Sandwich Shop, or El Burrito Jr. #2.  Even The Hangout and Cold Stone Creamery.

Still, a great many occupy the lawn just north of the pier.  Call it Eisenhower Park North, where outdoor speakers bring them the sound of the live band.  That’s where I found local concert fans Wendi Vodhanel with friends Don and Pam McCredie.

For some it’s their eighth concert of the summer.  For others it’s their first.  Manny Martinez hasn’t missed a concert in four years, except for the first seven of 2015.  “It all just slipped by,” the Seal Beach resident told me, “I been working overtime, but I’ll make up for it tonight.”

And it looked as though he did, recognizing friends in a group down front, dancing with the ladies, eating their pizza, and trying some of their homemade lemonade.  It’s a sure sign of summer in Seal Beach.

Barry A. Kunz is a Seal Beach resident.