Following a year of events being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Sandy Springs wants all to “reDiscover” what it has to offer.
In a March 22 news release, the city announced the return of three community events under the “reDiscover” brand/theme: the Sandy Springs Farmers Market and the City Green Live and Concerts by the Springs concert series. Though the farmers market continued through November last year, all concerts were cancelled because of the outbreak.
The farmers market opens April 17 (click here for a separate Neighbor article on it and other local farmers markets), and the concerts kick off April 30.
"It has been a long, difficult year,” Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said in the release. “While we still have work to do to put COVID past us, we are optimistic about its progress. We are very excited to be able to bring back these three outdoor weekend activities. We still have health safety measures in place as we ease back into events, but an exciting step as we rediscover community.”
Under its original strategy, the city planned to implement CDC- and state-mandated health and safety protocols at all of its events, including requiring masks and social distancing and seating attendees in pods of four individuals each at its concerts.
But with Gov. Brian Kemp on March 31 signing an executive order that lifts restrictions on concerts and other events, the city opted to increase capacity at all of its concerts. The order, which goes into effect April 8, removes the 50-person cap on public-space gatherings that had been in place for months. It also decreases the social distancing/seating requirement in movie theaters from 6 feet to 3 and in restaurants and bars from 6 feet to 3.5.
However, the CDC’s guidelines for all of those situations remain at 6 feet.
In an April 9 news release, the city announced it chose Option 3 and will safely allow the highest capacity for all City Green Live concerts. That decision came after the Sandy Springs City Council's April 6 work session, where city leaders discussed three possible options for concert seating. The original plan, Option 1, included pod seating at 6 feet apart; Option 2 called for pod seating at 3 feet apart and Option 3 eliminates all pod seating and would have no social distancing mandates.
One restriction that likely will remain in place, though, is vendors at both the farmers market and concerts will not take cash, so credit or debit cards are required.
Admission to both the City Green Live and Concerts by the Springs performances is free, but under the original plan, there would be limited seating due to the pandemic, so tickets would have to be reserved in advance.
Under the original plan, there would be no tables for sale for this year's City Green Live series, but after the restrictions were lifted, the city announced it's offering tables for $60 for six attendees and $40 for four. At Concerts by the Springs, 30 tables for four ($135 each) will be available to buy. Due to safety protocols, only complete tables will be sold. Anyone with questions about tickets can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food and drink will be sold from food trucks located along Blue Stone Road for the City Green Live concerts and in the Blue Stone courtyard for Concerts by the Springs, and CityBar will be selling drinks at the City Green Live series.
City Green Live
City Green Live returns April 30 with Drivin N Cryin and will continue on select Friday nights through July, featuring various acts. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and a small snack table is permitted. Strollers and coolers are permitted, but they must be contained within one's seating area. Food and drink are also available for sale. Only alcohol purchased on site will be allowed. Access to the City Green opens at 5 p.m.; festivities begin at 6:30 p.m.
The music lineup is as follows:
♦ April 30: Drivin' n Cryin (Atlanta folk-rock band)
♦ May 14: Cha Wa (New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit)
♦ May 28: Old Salt Union (Illinois roots band)
♦ June 11: Uptown Funk (Bruno Mars tribute band)
♦ June 25: Randall Bramblett & The Megablasters (veteran Jesup-born rock singer and his band)
Concerts by the Springs
Concerts by the Springs, the popular monthly series, again will be held on select Sunday nights from May through September. Gates open at 5 p.m., and bands play from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The lineup is as follows:
♦ May 9: Super Deluxe (high-energy party band)
♦ June 20: Bumpin' the Mango (funk and soul band)
♦ July 11: 7 Sharp 9 (pop, rock, dance, country, blues, and jazz band)
♦ Aug. 8: Head Games (Foreigner tribute band)
♦ Sept. 12: Hot Licks and Rhetoric (Steely Dan tribute band)
For more information on all concerts, visit citysprings.com.
At the work session, City Manager Andrea Surratt presented the group with aforementioned three choices regarding the city’s concert series. While all the council members said they would prefer Option 3 to give as many residents a chance to attend these events, one warned that the city must remain careful while dealing with the pandemic, especially with the April 30 kickoff concert.
“This is our coming-out party, and I don’t feel qualified to make this judgment,” District 6 Councilman Andy Bauman said. “I would love to go back to not wearing masks or social distancing, but I say that facetiously. I can’t wait until we get back to that. For our first one, is to err on the side of caution and the side of caution is to comply with CDC guidelines. … There’s overflow seating (with) the rocking chairs, the restaurants.”
Though Surratt and the April 9 news release did not mention possible changes to Concerts by the Springs’ capacity, that series could have similarly looser crowd restrictions.