Bayfront Park to Host Summer Entertainment Again After Dark Pandemic Year

Fourth Fest, Reggae and World Music Festival and more are set to return this summer.

DULUTH, Minn.- Entertainment is on its way back to Bayfront Festival Park this summer, a true sign the pandemic is being pushed farther behind us to allow the City of Duluth to showcase its water front view, full of concerts and even Fourth Fest.

“It will be busy, we’ll see cars and we’ll see bodies down in Bayfront Park this summer,” said Director Jeff Stark.

The park will soon be empty no more as big festivals and events are set to come back again under the governor’s newly updated guidelines allowing up to 2,500 people not seated, or 4,000 people seated.

“They’re something to work with, right?” Stark said.

“They’re something to start out with and get planning beginning in earnest that those capacities potentially will go up as we get more and more people vaccines into people and the case rates go down quite a bit,” he said.

It is small compared to the park’s total capacity of 15,000 people, but Stark says most events stay within 3,000 to 5,000.

With that in mind, he says of the 40 event days they had in 2019 — 34 are set to come back.

“We know the 4th of July will be coming back and the 4th Fest will happen in some semblance, Art in Bayfront Park, the Reggae and World Music Festival, City on the Hill, a number of events are planning on moving forward,” said Stark.

“We’re very excited to put on these events safely and effectively and release people back into that community treasure that is Bayfront,” he said.

Meanwhile Kristi Stokes President of the Greater Downtown Council says those events will spread the love to the rest of downtown.

“With Bayfront being active I mean obviously that will mean more traffic, pedestrian traffic in our Downtown and Canal Park area so that’s a benefit for our restaurants and our hotels,” said Stokes. “And then as we look at as well the GDC events that we do we’re looking to move forward with those.”

For more on the Greater Downtown Council events coming this summer, click here.

Officials said this all is a great sign for tourism to return to the city again. “The early signs and indicators are that Duluth is poised to see what we hope will be a very strong summer,” said Visit Duluth President Anna Tanski.

A strong summer for a hotel industry already on the mend since the Governor’s first rollback of restrictions in January, according to Tanski.

“It really is encouraging to see weekend occupancy levels in the mid to upper 60 percents” she said,” and that’s still well below where we would be for this time of year if it were not the pandemic.”

Tanski says with restrictions loosening for outdoor events at Bayfront and indoors at the DECC, Visit Duluth is launching a new summer tourism ad campaign in April. “To really help us guide and direct and target those companies so that they we definitely reach the audience that we want to reach.”

She says with vaccines on the rise and COVID cases on the decline overall, it’s time to market Duluth on its strength of big outdoor spaces.

“That Duluth is a safe and welcoming community, that big Lake Superior is big enough for everyone, and we’re ready to welcome everyone and do so safely,” said Tanski.

A big environment which Stark is looking forward to see come alive again this summer.

“We’re really happy to have the sounds and the smells from the food vendors and all those other things kind of permeating throughout the city and the Canal Park area,” he said.

People can follow a tentative list of events already on Bayfront’s website.

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