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River Rock series set to proceed

WARREN — Four first-time headliners will be part of the 2021 River Rock at the Amp concert series, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee also will be part of the summer lineup at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.

Thirteen concerts are planned between May 29 and Aug. 28, and Sunrise Entertainment will announce an additional concert featuring Rick Nielsen, a founding member of Cheap Trick, at a news conference today at the Robins Theatre.

“Will there be some challenges with social distancing and stuff? Of course,” Sunrise President Ken Haidaris said last week. “Everywhere I go, I ask, ‘Are you comfortable going to concerts?’ and everyone says, ‘Oh, God, yes.’ I think the vaccines have made a big psychological difference.”

That doesn’t mean River Rock concertgoers won’t see some changes this summer. Haidaris said they plan to follow the current guidelines — groups of up to 10 people spaced 6 feet apart and wearing masks. Plans currently call for eliminating one of the three beer tents and moving some concession stands / food trucks to different areas to free up more space near the stage to allow for more social distancing. They also may eliminate the VIP tents.

“In 45 days, everything may be completely different,” Haidaris said. “We’re going to encourage people to come in groups of 10 so we can fit more people in … My hope is as the summer goes along, maybe the capacity improves and more and more people are allowed in the venue.”

First-time headliners for 2021 are Atomic Punks (Van Halen tribute), Double Vision (Foreigner), Face to Face (Billy Joel and Elton John) and The ELO Tribute Show (Electric Light Orchestra).

“Atomic Punks, the driving force behind that was the passing of Eddie Van Halen,” Haidaris said. “Face to Face, they had that guy in Lorain last year and he was incredible. Everyone knows those Elton John and Billy Joel songs.”

They join returning favorites 7 Bridges (Eagles), ZOSO (Led Zeppelin), Hollywood Nights (Bob Seger), Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) and Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett). Details still are being worked out, Haidaris said, but Buffett is not on tour when Fins plays the amp on July 24, and members of Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band are expected to join Fins for the Warren concert.

Haidaris said he often hears complaints about booking the same acts every year, but he does it because they are proven draws locally.

“When people quit showing up, we’ll quit booking it,” he said. “And if we didn’t have (7 Bridges), people would scream.”

Ticket prices for most shows will be $8 with five concerts priced at $10 and Wish You Were Here at $12. The Pink Floyd tribute act sold out the Robins Theatre in 2020 shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The Nielsen Trust — a band featuring Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, his sons Daxx and Miles Nielsen and his daughter-in-law Kelly Steward — is one of the shows that might have been at the Robins Theatre under normal circumstances. Instead the band will play the Warren Community Amphitheatre on June 18 as a non-River Rock attraction.

“A lot of bands feel more comfortable playing outdoors and think they can sell more tickets outdoors,” Haidaris said.

While the Warren amphitheater has featured Grammy winners (Leavittsburg native Jerry Douglas), one of the stars of classical music (Yo-Yo Ma), local favorites (Michael Stanley) and national acts (Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Big Brother and the Holding Company), Nielsen will be the first Rock Hall inductee to play the venue.

Tickets for The Nielsen Trust and opening act Nick Perri & the Underground Thieves go on sale 10 a.m. Friday at www.robinstheatre.com.

“I really believe this year will be a transition year,” Haidaris said. “We’ll do shows, but it will be different. But next year, I think we’ll return to some sort of normalcy, some sort of certainty.”

agray@tribtoday.com

2021 River Rock at the Amp

May 29 — Straight On (Heart tribute) and the Fleetwood Mac Experience (Fleetwood Mac tribute) ($8)

June 12 — 7 Bridges (Eagles tribute) and Northern Whiskey ($10)

June 19 — Hollywood Nights (Bob Seger tribute) and Invincible (Pat Benatar tribute) ($10)

June 26 — E5C4P3 (Journey tribute) and Talk of the Town (Pretenders tribute) ($8)

July 3 — ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute) and Harvest (Neil Young tribute) ($8)

July 10 — Atomic Punks (Van Halen tribute) and the Michael Weber Show ($8)

July 17 — Double Vision (Foreigner tribute) and The Fillbillys ($8)

July 24 — Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett tribute) and My Drunk’n Uncle ($8)

July 31 — Queen Nation (Queen tribute) and No Funk No Justice ($10)

Aug. 7 — Face to Face (Billy Joel / Elton John tribute) and Bad JuJu ($10)

Aug. 21 — The ELO Tribute Show (Electric Light Orchestra tribute) and Brass Metropolis (Chicago tribute) ($10)

Aug. 27 — Disco Inferno and 1988 ($8)

Aug. 28 — Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd tribute) and Chookie Unplugged ($12)

All concerts take place at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, 321 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the music starts at 5:30. For more information, go to riverrockattheamp.com.

Also coming to the amphitheater on June 18 is The Nielsen Trust, which features Rick Nielsen, a Rock Hall inductee as a founding member of Cheap Trick; his sons Daxx and Miles Nielsen and Miles’ wife, Kelly Steward. Nick Perri & the Underground Thieves will open. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of show and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at www.robins theatre.com.

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