File photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News
Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.

File photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.

Concert on the Lawn returns

COTL line up includes The English Bay Band, a group that played in 1980

Two years ago in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, KBBI AM 890 held Concert on Your Lawn, a pandemic-safe live-broadcast concert where listeners could enjoy music safely on a summer evening at home while avoiding crowds. KBBI General Manager Josh Krohn back then looked ahead to when it might be possible to gather together once more.

“We’d like to go back in that direction again when it’s possible,” Krohn said in June 2020 of the possibility of a live concert. “When the pandemic’s over, hopefully we’re going to do that.”

This Saturday, that dream will come true when KBBI presents its 36th Concert on the Lawn (COTL), not only the first since the pandemic, but since 2014 when the public radio station held its last big outdoor concert and former General Manager Dave Anderson in 2015 said COTL wouldn’t happen.

To be held in the performance meadow at the Down East Saloon, gates open for Concert on the Lawn at 11 a.m. Saturday and, with the show running through 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at General admission is $25, youth ages 5-12 are $15, and ages 5 and under are free with an accompanying adult. Be a KBBI Super Fan and pay it forward with a $65 ticket that includes entrance, a COTL T-shirt, and a small donation to help put on the show. The day also includes food and other vendors.

On the lineup is The English Bay Band of Nanwalek, one of the bands that played at the first COTL in 1980. In the early days of KBBI, COTL started as a way to say thank you to supporters after the fall membership drive. Back then, KBBI broadcast out of a building on Cook Inlet Region Inc. property between Main Street and Poopdeck Street on what’s now known as the Town Center. The offices looked out on a broad meadow — the original “lawn” for Concert on the Lawn. COTL later moved to Karen Hornaday Park.

In a letter to the Homer News, Rita Turner, the 1980 and 1981 COTL coordinator, recalled that first event.

“Brother Asaiah began the first eight hour concert event with the Invocation, blessing KBBI and the Kachemak Bay community. Steve Smith and Eddie Wood led a jazz ensemble as the first group to perform,” she wrote. “Eight hours of wonderful musical volunteers performing concluded with the crowd dancing to the tunes of The English Bay Band. Families were spread out on blankets across the lawn. Volunteers had prepared a spaghetti buffet, including a vegetarian choice.”

That spirit returns with not only The English Bay Band, but a lineup of local and Alaska bands, including the KP Brass Band, John Cottingham and Kaelyn Quinn, Jim Maloney, Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher, Uplift, Bed of Roses, and Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles.

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