See more of the story

A replacement of sorts for the popular Music in the Zoo gigs, the Canterbury Park Concert Series will return to Shakopee's horse track starting in late July with performers including Melissa Etheridge, Trombone Shorty, Cloud Cult, Gov't Mule and Yonder Mountain String Band.

The lineup for the second annual run of shows was announced Tuesday by Minneapolis-based promotions company Sue McLean & Associates (SMA), which produced the Minnesota Zoo's music series for nearly three decades before it was shut down by COVID. There's still no sign of its return.

Canterbury Park's series set-up — with the stage located down by the winner's circle in front of the grandstand — offers a more spacious if less scenic setting for SMA's usual eclectic mix of performances, which will also include Marc Cohn, Anderson East and '90s alt-rockers Everclear.

The latter group kicks off the series on July 29, while New Orleans party master Trombone Shorty will wrap it up on Sept. 16. More acts will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for all eight shows confirmed so far go on sale via starting this Friday, May 20, with prices staring at $25-$35.

Last year's series at Canterbury was fairly well-received. In his write-up from opening weekend, finnicky Star Tribune critic Jon Bream highlighted the free parking, full bar and more varied seating options (including picnic tables) as reasons to like it, but he also said the setting lacks the intimacy and excellent sightlines of the zoo amphitheater.

Canterbury Park's crew certainly sounds happy to have the series back.

"The positive response from guests attending last year's inaugural concert series was tremendous," Deb Schaber, Director of Entertainment for Canterbury Park, said in a statement.

Canterbury Park will also host the Twin Cities Summer Jam again July 21-23, with a lineup spread out across the whole horse track featuring country stars Blake Shelton and Kane Brown. SMA is hosting other outdoor concerts at the Hilde Amphitheater in Plymouth, where Gary Clark Jr. and Kelsi Ballerini are scheduled July 29 and 30, respectively.

Here's the full schedule for the Canterbury Park Concert Series:

Everclear – Friday, July 29 – tickets start at $25

Anderson East – Friday, August 5 – tickets start at $30

Melissa Etheridge – Tuesday, August 9 – tickets start at $35

Marc Cohn – Friday, August 12 - tickets start at $35

Gov't Mule – Tuesday, August 16 - tickets start at $35

Cloud Cult – Friday, August 19 - tickets start at $30

Yonder Mountain String Band & The Lil Smokies - Friday, September 9 - tickets start at $25

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue – Friday, September 16 - tickets start at $30