After a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Nassau County’s free summer concerts are set to return headlined by Joan Jett on July 30.
Jett, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is a longtime resident of Long Island and even served as a legislative delegate for Nassau County during the 2004 general election. Jett and her band, the Blackhearts, had a handful of top 40 hits, including “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” “Bad Reputation” and others.
Jett thanked County Executive Bruce Blakeman for helping organize the concert series and said she was excited to play in front of a hometown crowd at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre in Eisenhower Park later this month.
“We’re happy to be playing for all the hometown fans in a place that helped start it all for the Blackhearts,” Jett said in a statement. “After a few tough years, great to see this community coming back together for some fun, thanks to Bruce Blakeman!”
Blakeman, in an interview with Blank Slate Media, said county officials were discussing the summer concert series in February and that he wanted to do “something special” to show Nassau residents and visitors that the county is back in business following the pandemic.
“We decided to really have a great summer and to let everybody know that Nassau is back and we’re open for business,” Blakeman said. “We want people to use our beaches, to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and basically enjoy everything Nassau County has to offer.”
Those who battled on the front lines throughout the pandemic, Blakeman said, will also have access to a special VIP area, where spots will be on a first-come, first-served basis for veterans, doctors and first responders with valid identification.
“I want to encourage everyone, especially our veterans, doctors, nurses and first responders, to come out and enjoy a full night of great music in celebration of all we have overcome and all we are still to achieve,” Blakeman said.
The county executive also lauded the resiliency of Nassau’s residents to stay healthy and vigilant, not just throughout the pandemic, but other natural disasters in recent memory. The county’s diverse population and ability to unify in the face of adversity, he said, is always a cause for celebration in the form of a summer concert.
“We have a hearty population here in Nassau,” Blakeman said. “We’ve endured hurricanes, superstorms and a pandemic. It just shows that our people are strong and united and that we have a sense of community, which is very important. I’m very proud to be leading such a great county.”
While Joan Jett and the Blackhearts may be a headlining act for Nassau’s summer concert series, other notable bands including The Smithereens and The Gin Blossoms are also scheduled to grace the Lakeside Theatre stage on July 23 and Aug. 27, respectively. Other musical performances at the park include a Zac Brown Tribute Band on July 29, Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway” on Aug. 13 and a smattering of heritage nights throughout the remainder of July and all of August.
More information is available online at nassaucountyny.gov