Music & Special Events at Theme Parks

Editorials and Rants

Austin, a theme park fan and writer at Theme Park Syndicate is today’s guest blogger.

Ah, the classic amusement park image: great rides, irresistible food, addicting midway games, and that genuine one-of-a-kind atmosphere of non-stop fun. Not much else a person could think of to compose a perfect day at the park. But there is one element which I feel is often overlooked: the special events which theme parks hold. In my special guest post, I am going to discuss the span and appeal of concerts and shows at the park.

The Span of Special Events
Each year, theme parks are the hosts to many concerts and events. Some range from a normal gig for a popular band to death defying, mind blowing tricks and stunts. Take world-famous tightrope walker Nik Wallenda, for example. He performed his highest walk on the tightrope at Kings Island last August, starting at the entrance gate and finishing 262 feet in the air at the top of the park’s Eiffel Tower. He did it without any safety harness or net to catch him if he made the slightest error. He also endured winds and a shaky rope for 25 minutes, traveling across 800 feet of wire thinner than the width of a nickel. It drew a pretty big crowd, and for good reason. That stuff is cool! And you can imagine why. We seek a mind-blowing experience at an amusement park, and seeing someone performing a feat outside of the realms of normality easily fits the bill.

How about live music? How can some band compete with the likes of gargantuan roller coasters? Coasters give you that genuine adrenaline rush, while upbeat music (which is what parks provide for the most part) lets off a mood that makes you feel happy and excited to be there. It’s sometimes icing on the cake for me, because getting off a really good ride happy and then hearing music just makes me take in a breath and say “Wow… What a great day…” I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but that’s the way the music makes me feel. And what could be cooler than singing along to your favorite songs, with the makers of them right in front of you! Live music and theme parks mix really well, but with so many guests with different interests and opinions, how well do shows and concerts stack up?

The Appeal of Live Music
I remember my first trip to a park concert. It was Atlantafest here at Six Flags Over Georgia. We had won tickets from a local radio station, so I got to go for free. I remember riding the rides throughout the day, being pushed on the stand-up drop tower Acrophobia for the first time and even getting to try my first funnel cake. At the end of the day though, the sun was setting, and it was concert time. Of course, before we were able to even get to our seats, we found ourselves bombarded with free key chains and magnets from the radio station booths. Once the show started though, it was awesome.

They got the popular rock group Third Day to finish off the concerts of the evening. They played familiar hits and even a new song off of their then-unreleased album (I still brag to my younger siblings about being among the first to hear the song). I remember leaving the show with a smile, knowing that I just had an awesome day, and the concert definitely contributed to that feeling. It’s funny how we like live music that way. I guess it’s just because we’re hearing songs we like, but at the same time having the ability to interact with the makers of it while they’re in sight of you. It’s definitely one of those things you would have to experience in order to understand.

The appeal of live music (in a theme park setting) to the general public often varies though. Some people may find it to be distracting, too loud, or that it isn’t too big a part of the theme park experience. In my own humble opinion, I like having live music in the park. I might be walking along trying to get to a ride, but I’ll almost always stop if I see bands playing. I really appreciate music. I’m sure that most of that appreciation comes from me being a learning musician, but nonetheless, live music is still really cool for its lively nature.

But what about the choices of bands? I don’t know about you all but pop singers like Justin Bieber and Mitchell Musso aren’t exactly my cup of tea. While they do have a big appeal to the pop crowd (and mobs of screaming teenage girls), they don’t really appeal to people beyond a certain age. I’m more partial to Rock and Progressive myself, which is something I’d like to see more of.

Thanks to the Coaster Critic for allowing me the chance to be a guest blogger. I apologize if this seems a little short to you guys and gals. This is my first article that doesn’t deal with news-related stuff. If you would like to see said news-related articles, as well as my other editorials, be sure to check me and other talented writers out at Theme Park Syndicate.

Here’s a video of Nik Wallenda performing a tight rope walk at Cedar Point:

What’s Your Take?
Do you like in-park music and if so, who would you like to see perform at park concerts? Be sure to give your two cents in the comments. Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

13 Comments

  1. I completely agree with you. I love special events in the parks, be it music or something else. Even if the band playing isn’t your favorite, it still adds a little life & excitement to the park.

    Reply
  2. I really don't go to Amusement Parks for Live Shows, and they usually don't have anything but pop, and I am also a fan of rock and progressive.

    Reply
    • When i go to a theme park, i`m always happy if someone is playing ther live, but that`s generaly because most of the park is giong to be over there if they`re big, so the lines will take a trmendous drop. great time to exploit some of the larger rides.

      P.S. i`m also a big rock fan. 🙂

      Reply
  3. It depends how far the park is away from me and when im going to get the chance to go there again. Obviously if I wont get a chance to visit the park again for a long time and its my first visit I want to ride every major ride so I wouldnt bother to stop, however if it were my local theme park I can take things at a more relaxed pace and would stop if it was something I enjoyed.

    Its good for us enthusiasts I suppose because people will get distracted by the live bands leaving less people in the queue

    Reply
  4. Hmm, good point, although I guess it depends on whether you really like music in the first place and whether or not you like large crowds attracted by the live band or stunt act. Then again, it could also serve as a distraction for us coaster chickens who would like to somehow bring our blood pressure back into a normal range after a long day of being bumped around with our now standing-on-end hair.

    In conclusion, I would definitely say a matter of personal preference.

    Reply
    • good point, i don`t think most of the other people here wopuld of thought of that, and there's also the matter oif if you like it.

      P.S. Nice name!

      Reply
  5. Justin Bieber is a lying, ungrateful, untalented little twerp!!! If he really is fifteen, his voice should've at least hinted cracking by now. As for who I would like to see at amusmant park concerts would definately be Skillet. All I want for entertainment other than the rides is some street performers to listen to compared to listening to that whining little kid in front of you that just has to have cotten candy.

    Reply
    • Skillet or Shinedown, that would be something i`d like.

      Reply
      • I loved Skillet's "Collide" album!

        Reply
        • I perfer 'Awake and Alive", but "Collide" and "Comatose" are also great Albums.

          Reply
          • Awake and Comatose are awesome :-), although I haven't heard Collide 🙁

  6. Wow, thanks for all the comments guys!

    Thanks Quil and jjhobo for pointing out the drop in line sizes on show days. Always a plus 🙂 .

    Reply
  7. I guess this is a disadvantage of being a metalhead, as I always dream of seeing a band I love playing at Hersheypark but I'm never quite successful. I do love seeing cheesy little bands playing at parks though, like those Boardwalkers at Hershey. It just adds a little spice to the whole theme park experience. I guess it's also safe to play old-timey rock and roll because it seems to appeal to small children and old people, and it's not annoying for everyone else. I also remember seeing this corny cover band at Knoebel's that was really fun. This drummer did this trick, I don't remember what it was, but it was really cool. It also adds fun to dining at amusement parks, which tends to be anti-climatic.

    Reply

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