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September 23, 2017

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Joe Downtown: Container Park to host monthly music series


Christopher DeVargas

A look at the downtown Container Park on 7th Street and Fremont Street, which had its soft opening today, Monday Nov. 25, 2013.

Container Park Opening

A look at the downtown Container Park on 7th Street and Fremont Street, which had its soft opening today, Monday Nov. 25, 2013. Launch slideshow »

When musician Sheryl Crow plays at the Container Park next Friday night for roughly 1,000 people, it will be something of a milestone for East Fremont Street.

Crow has been in the business for decades and has a number of hits. She’s a bona fide star to Gen-Xers, many of whom wished they could drink “beer at noon on Tuesday,” as Crow sang about in her biggest hit, 1993’s “All I Wanna Do.”

Younger adults have likely heard of her but may not be as enthralled.

For that crowd, Jerry Lemon is creating an alternative.

Over the next three months, Lemon will bring one rising-star band a month to the Container Park, which he will turn into a club/party venue for that same night.

People who live and work downtown will get a discount on tickets, which he said will be about $25.

“I want to take what seems to be a place for youthful market in the daytime,” Lemon said, referring to the parents with kids who flood the mall’s outdoor playground, “and turn it into a nighttime, big-kids playground.”

He’s calling the music series, scheduled to begin May 23, “Under The Lights.” The name comes from memories of being a sixth-grader in Long Island and hanging out at the summer, nighttime basketball league under flood lights.

“That memory of being free and fun and having no pressure is why I want to have these concerts,” he said. “It’s just about having a good time and being part of the community.”

In his 30s, Lemon has spent 10 years working in nightlife from New York to Los Angeles to Las Vegas. He worked on marketing at Commonwealth and Park on Fremont, leaving because he wanted to create projects that “can impact culture and bring culture” to a community.

Container Park is the perfect fit for his music series. It has a permanent stage and “this magical forest in the center,” as Lemon puts it.

Having the lighting and sound already in place is a huge savings, Lemon said. Container Park will get a cut of ticket sales and all food and beverage proceeds. Sponsors also will help offset expenses.

“When you enter, it’s not just going to be a concert, there’s going to be fog and a big-kids playground” and other areas to explore, he said.

A dollar from every ticket sold will go to pay for a music program downtown aimed at providing people with free instrumental music lessons.

Bands will stop playing at 11:30 p.m., when DJs will take over, Lemon said.

Show dates are May 23, June 20 and July 19. So far, Lemon said, Cults and Sky Ferreira are confirmed for the June and July dates. He is talking to Sleigh Bells and Chvrches for the May show.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown; he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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