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Downtown Sounds set to return live this summer

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For more than 20 years, live music has been a staple of Friday nights in downtown Glen Cove. Last year was the exception, of course, but this summer the live Downtown Sounds concert series is set to return in July and August with a full line-up.

“We’re ready to go, full blast,” Patricia Holman, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, said. “We always look forward in a positive way, so my goal was to be able to do this, recognizing any Covid guidelines that we had to follow.”

Last year, the concerts were moved to a virtual format, and while Holman was optimistic that they would be able to put on a live show this year, she said, she and the Downtown Sounds Committee met regularly to discuss options to ensure that it would be done safely, and that they would be ready to produce the concerts when the time came.

“We made preliminary plans,” Holman said, “because we recognized that every day, it changed.”

As of this week, Holman said, they will not have to limit attendance, though they are not clear yet on whether masks will be required. According to Glen Cove city attorney Greg Kalnitsky, signage will be required to remind people to practice social distancing. “We are aware that tomorrow or next week, that might change,” she said, “but I am optimistic that everyone who attends the concerts will look out for their not only themselves, but their neighbors as well. It’s really important for our audience to respect any guidelines that we set for them because we want to make sure that we can get through the full season.”

Last year, the Downtown BID purchased television monitors for the virtual concerts so people could view the shows while eating dinner in a downtown restaurant. This year, two of the screens will be brought out again so that those eating farther up School Street, at restuarants such as American Café, La Famiglia or La Bussola, can view the concerts. “Then hopefully when they finish their meals, they’ll come down and enjoy the rest of the show,” Holman said.

She said that that streaming the concerts worked “incredibly well” last year and also gave the concerts a much broader audience, allowing Downtown Sounds to be broadcast around the world. The shows will also be recorded and streamed live this year.

“We’re thrilled that we’re able to have live shows again,” Fred Guarino, chairman of the Downtown Sounds Committee, said. “And we’re excited to have a hybrid approach, similar to last year, because it’s a nice way to document our live shows.”

A handful of the bands that participated last year were given first priority to perform this year. “They helped us out during a tough time, and we’re happy to have them back this year,” Guarino said.

Modern country music band Rusty Spur will open the series on July 2. “We’re super excited,” Nick Troiani, keyboardist of Rusty Spur Band, said. “Luckily, we’ve been able to play, especially lately as restrictions have been lifted, so we’re getting the vibe from the live audience again.”

Fans at Rusty Spur shows tend to get up and dance, Troiani said, and line dancing is popular, but hasn’t been allowed under the pandemic restrictions. “I’m hoping those restrictions will be completely lifted by the time we’re able to play,” he said. “It’s a great venue, and I think people are just itching to get out and see live music again.”

The concerts will take place at the new Village Square, and it will be the first time since 2016 that the BID’s stage, as opposed to the portable showmobile rented from , will be used. The managers at Village Square are “totally supportive” of Downtown Sounds, Holman said, and will make sure the apartment residents are aware of the concerts. “We’re hopeful they’ll either be watching from their balcony or will come down and enjoy it in person.”

As far as the lineup goes, Holman said, “I’m really excited because I feel like we have a little mix of everything.”