Without question, my favorite free summer activity is Rock the Plaza (RTP), an outdoor concert series that takes place every Saturday throughout the summer at the downtown library plaza. Kicking off its 6th season on June 2 with Afro-Disiacs and Pink Droyd, RTP has become the quintessential summer event in Fort Wayne.
Kyle Haller, founder of RTP, simply wanted to play on the plaza stage. “When I saw it being built, all I could think about was how I was going to convince the library to let me play there. I started bugging them and eventually they called me and wanted to talk,” he says.
Kyle and some folks from the library met, and an outdoor concert series was born. “Over 200 people came out to the first show, and we were blown away,” explains Haller. Now, the event draws over 600 people per show, creating an energetic buzz in downtown Fort Wayne on Saturday evenings.
Fueled by a successful first season, the library offered to host the event for a second season, and the rest, as they say, is history. Haller’s dream of playing on the stage came true and more. Along with his band, Phil’s Family Lizard, dozens of local bands come back year after year to play the plaza, including favorites Sunny Taylor, URB, Todd Harold Band, and Pop-n-Fresh, just to name a few.
So what can we expect this year? As in year’s past, the event is free and open to the public. 816 Pint & Slice will be on hand serving up tasty slices and frosty brews. Dunkin’ Donuts is also open, offering a variety of sandwiches, donuts, and beverages. All shows begin at 6pm, rain or shine.
“On opening night, Pink Droyd will play Pink Floyd’s album Animals in its entirety, and that will be pretty rad,” says Haller. “July 21 is a special night, too, as it’s the last night of the Three Rivers Fest, and bands will play with the fireworks as a backdrop. This is usually the biggest night of the season for us, drawing over 1,000 people.” This year, Phil’s Family Lizard, URB, Sunny Taylor, and Moser Woods will grace the stage that evening.
RTP is the best outdoor showcase of local talent. So, bring a blanket or a chair, and the entire family, too. Let’s rock the plaza!
6/2/2012 Afro-Disiacs and Pink Droyd
6/9/2012 the Black Door, Ivory West, By All Means and Walkin Papers
6/16/2012 North River Agents, Small Town, and HeartBeat City
6/23/2012 Taylor Fredricks, Yellow Dead Bettys, Argonaut and Cougar Hunter
6/30/2012 Big Caddy Daddy, Juke Joint Jive and Pop-n-Fresh
7/7/2012 Sum Morz, Hope Arthur, the Elky Summers and Pillars of Society
7/14/2012 SuperHunk, KT3, Tito Discovery and Unlikely Alibi
7/21/2012 Phil's Family Lizard, URB, Sunny Taylor and Moser Woods
7/28/2012 Kill The Rabbit, Great Flood Catastrophe and Vidal Brothers
8/4/2012 Little Logan & the Instigators, Frankly Scarlet, Plaxton & the Void and Krimsha
8/11/2012 Grateful Groove, Marnee and Orange Opera
8/18/2012 the Wailhounds, Velvet Soul and Mimi Burns Band
8/25/2012 Todd Harold Band Black Cat Mambo Freak Brothers
For more information, visit Rock the Plaza's Facebook Page.
Amber Foster Bouthot moved here from Illinois in 2002 and is proud to call Fort Wayne home. She's an editor, freelance writer, and community volunteer, with over ten years of writing and editing experience. By day, she manages glo magazine, owns her own marketing and writing firm, and runs Fort Wayne Food Tours. In her spare time, she likes to cuddle with her daughters and 3 pups, and spend time camping and going to the lake with her family.