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The best free summer concert series in the Twin Cities looks to be even better this year.

Lowertown Sounds will return to Mears Park in downtown St. Paul starting June 9 with burgeoning local rockers Monica LaPlante and Annie and the Bang Bang. The series continues every Thursday night through Aug. 25 — save for June 30 and July 3 — with an eclectic cast of Minnesota performers, including the New Standards, Flamin' Oh's, Malamanya, Heiruspecs, Joyann Parker, Matt Wilson and His Orchestra and We Are the Willows.

Formerly known as Music in Mears, the concerts always take place from 6-9:30 p.m. and feature a caravan of food trucks and beverage stands surrounding the scenic urban park. Among the swill providers in 2022 will be Number 12 Cider, Wabasha Brewing Company, Utepils Brewing and Alexis Bailly Vineyard.

After having to cancel their 2020 lineup because of COVID, Lowertown Sounds organizers bore the challenge of drawing fans back to Mears Park amid continuing virus fears. They also faced extreme June heat and even air/smoke quality problems from wildfires. But the series nonetheless rebounded.

"I am incredibly proud of what we pulled off last year, and the support we felt," said Clint Roberts, whose company One Simple Plan produces the series with chief sponsor Hiway Credit Union. "But I am probably prouder this year considering the schedule we've put together and what we are set to pull off despite more challenges."

Here's the full lineup for Lowertown Sounds 2022. Check and the series' Facebook page for updates as the shows near.

  • June 9: Monica LaPlante, Annie and the Bang Bang, D'Lakes
  • June 16: Matt Wilson and his Orchestra, Little Fevers
  • June 23: The New Standards, Small Screens
  • July 14: Heiruspecs, Longshot & Lazerbeak
  • July 21: Jillian Rae, Farewell Milwaukee
  • July 28: We are the Willows, Folios
  • August 4: Flamin' Oh's, Scarlet Goodbye
  • August 11: Mayda, Becky Kapell
  • August 18: Malamanya, Jaedyn James
  • August 25: Joyann Parker Band, Beau Baker Band