Despite rousing finale, future of summer concerts in doubt

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DRACUT — A group of young children dance in front of the gazebo at the Daoulas Education Complex flailing their inflatable guitars and mimicking the live performers on stage.

The musicians — the real ones — are belting out the Beatles’ standard, “I Saw Her Standing There.” The group, ’60s Invasion, is the second-to-last act to perform at the Dracut Summer Concert Series on Aug. 23.

The series concluded Aug. 30 with music by MoonGlow and a glorious fireworks display.

The series kicked off on July 3 with a concert by local favorite, Brandy. About 3,000 people packed the area in front of the gazebo on Lakeview Avenue. The concert was followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

But crowds have dwindled over the summer months.

“It’s been steady, but a little slow,” said Kevin Willett, a Dracut resident and chief financial officer at Washington Savings Bank, who revived the Summer Concert Series this year. “We had enough sponsorships going in so we knew we were covered, but yeah, we would have liked to have seen bigger crowds.”

Willett is not sure if the series will continue.

“We’ll have the July 3 concert and the finale at the end of the summer, but right now were thinking hard about it. It’s not paying for itself,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense if people aren’t coming. We had a good crowd the first night and we’ll have a good crowd on the last night, but most Thursday nights have been pretty light.”

About 200 people were sprawled out on the lawn as ’60s Invasion — drummer Dave Vose, keyboardist Dave Dunham, bassist Jack Little and guitarist Bob Cleary — went through their set of British and American chart toppers from that decade.

“There’s a pretty good crowd here tonight,” observed Vose during a break. “Is this a usual crowd?”

Organizers have tried to bring in special attractions throughout the summer. The Lowell Devils Street Team was on hand one night, accompanied by their mascot, Devil Dawg. Public Safety Night featured all kinds of police and fire apparatus as well as safety demonstrations.

The concerts are free to the public and organizers hold a 50/50 raffle.