Thursday evening concerts return to Fountain Plaza starting June 6. Monday was the unofficial start of summer and that means one thing: Outdoor concerts.

The Thursday night concert series is returning to Fountain Plaza this year, with Organ Fairchild kicking off the festivities on June 6 and Diyené opening the show.

To clear things up a bit: Yes, M&T Bank did announce earlier this year that it was canceling the Plaza Event Series, also at Fountain Plaza downtown, but that referred to the lunchtime series of performances the bank has supported since 1969. At the time, a spokesperson for M&T said the series had “run its course” and that it was time to close the curtain on the shows.

“What we’ve seen was attendance, even pre-Covid, had been dwindling. Instead of measuring attendance in hundreds, we were measuring attendance in dozens,” Keith Belanger, senior vice president of corporate services at M&T, said in March.

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At the time, some reporting made it sound like all Fountain Plaza events would meet their end, but that was not the case. In addition to continuing to support the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, Buffalo Place and Fountain Plaza will welcome in Buffalonians and passersby alike with the free Thursday & Main Concert Series.

With the exception of July 4, the series will run on eight consecutive Thursday evenings, from 5-8 p.m., from June 6 through August 8.

This year’s series includes:

  • Organ Fairchild with opener Diyene on June 6
  • The Strictly Hip with Erin Hoyle on June 13
  • Handsome Jack with Uncle Ben’s Remedy on June 20
  • Super American with Letter to Elise on June 27
  • Son of the Sun with A House Safe for Tigers on July 11
  • Willie Nile with A Potter’s Field on July 18
  • Dwayne Gretzky for a double set on July 25
  • Lowest of the Low with Thee Isolators on August 1

For the past several years, Ron Hawkins, the lead singer of Toronto’s Lowest of the Low, has performed solo at his Thursday and Main appearance; this year he’s bringing the full band, a few weeks after their featured set at next weekend’s East Aurora Music Festival. Dwayne Gretzky, for the uninitiated, is a powerhouse group of highly talented musicians from Toronto known to play hours-long shows on New Year’s Eve, with setlists incorporating music from the 1970s (think Fleetwood Mac, Queen, ABBA) through the 1990s with heavy helpings of danceable favorites sure to get people moving.

Among the other highlights of this year’s series, the opening set will serve as an album release party for Organ Fairchild with their new record, “Songs We Didn’t Write,” which will be released the following day. Those who arrive early for the opening band might recognize Danielle A. Johnson in Diyené, as the former singer with funktastic Farrow.

Outside food and beverages are not permitted at Thursday and Main concerts, but a series of local restaurants including Bijou Grille, Jack Rabbit, and Fat Bob’s Smokehouse will be on hand with weekly specials, in addition to drink stands inside the plaza.

Hozier and Allison Russell at Darien Lake PAC 5-22-24

Darien Lake opened its season last Wednesday night with artists Hozier and Allison Russell.

Gallery Credit: BackstageAxxess, David "Gus" Griesinger

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