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Jul 28

Bring your chairs and blankets for a fun “Evening in the Park” featuring bluegrass music and a movie

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 2:21 PM by Becky Burnside

Through a Sunday special event in early August, JCPRD wants to say “thank you” to the community for their support by presenting a free concert of old-timey, feel-good, foot-stomping music, followed by a movie.  

This year’s Evening in the Park event on Aug. 8 will include a two-hour concert by the Short Round Stringband and The Matchsellers. After the concert, the movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” will be shown. 

Evening in the Park is back for a second year after a 2020 premiere event where attendance was restricted to about 350 tickets due to the pandemic, organizers of this year’s “evening” are anticipating no attendance restrictions or need for advance tickets.

“We look forward to a great Evening in the Park this year with our community, in celebration of the arts and the important role they play in making lives more enjoyable,” said Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong. “We will not be offering food trucks this year, but our concessions will be open with lots of great options to enjoy!”  

Mong said the music choice was by design.

“Bluegrass music has a whole lot of skill and complexity as a genre, but is known for improvisation and that felt appropriate as we reflected on the last year,” she said. “Once we settled on bluegrass as the music choice, the movie choice came easily.”

Originally released in 2000, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” is a Cohen Brothers film starring George Clooney. Rated PG-13, the movie is loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," and deals with the adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney’s character) and his companions Delmar and Pete after they escape from jail in 1930s Mississippi. The film features bluegrass, country, gospel, blues, and folk music appropriate to the time period. 

A pan-Missouri band with a refreshing approach to old time music, Short Round Stringband is the coming together of two musical couples and a bassist with Kansas roots. The band members are Kelly Wells and Ryan Spearman (The Aching Hearts, St. Louis), Betse Ellis and Clarke Wyatt (Betse & Clarke, Kansas City), and bassist Chris DeVictor (Konza Swamp and more). With deep connections to old-time, country, and Ozark tunes and songs, Short Round Stringband takes listeners on a moving journey through the sounds and stories of the American experience. Their hard-driving fiddle tunes get audiences out of their seats, while their vocal duets can bring a tear to the eye, their mapcap humor keeps crowds laughing, and their song arrangements and presentations showcase a passion for the depth of tradition with a look to new creative paths

The Matchsellers consist of Warsaw, Ind., native Andrew Morris and Julie Bates of Kansas City, Mo. Their exciting, gritty, and often hilarious stage show has been developed over years of touring across the US and Europe. They have collected influences from various regional styles of American folk music including bluegrass, old-time fiddle, hambone, fiddlesticks, Cajun, gospel, and more. While a focus on humor and absurdity permeates their show, they are dedicated interpreters of tradition whose excellent musicianship, songwriting, and taste are never overshadowed. 

For all the details on this year’s event, visit