5 things you need to know before Alive@Five starts Thursday
STAMFORD — Fall is almost upon us. But before Stamford bids adieu to the season for good, the city still has one last summer tradition left to celebrate.
Annual concert series Alive@Five kicks off Thursday with a full lineup of musicians and enough song, dance and drinks to spare. Before the gates open up at Mill River Park, here’s what you need to know:
Concert organizers said goodbye to Columbus Park and found a new location
The Downtown Special Services District, which has run Alive@Five and its sister series Wednesday Nite Live since the festival launched more than 20 years ago, announced in June that festivities would move from their longtime post at Columbus Park to the newer, bigger Mill River Park just across the street.
The bigger space comes with some new perks for attendees. Though lawn chairs were limited to Wednesday Nite Live performances in years past, concertgoers can bring seats in for Thursday performances as well as Wednesdays. Food trucks will line the park’s perimeter to feed the crowds.
The shows will only shut down half the park, from Main Street to Broad street on the east side of Mill River. The western half of Mill River Park — which contains the carousel pavilion — will remain accessible.
For the first time, there will be multiple entrances to the concerts. The general admission gates sandwich the park at 1190 Washington Blvd. and 2 Main St. Organizers made a third entrance available for patrons who purchased VIP tickets on Washington Boulevard at the mid-block crosswalk between Broad Street and Main Street.
Because of a new safety plan, masks are optional
A week before the first show, the DSSD and city announced that all attendees will need to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours to enter the venue. Because of this change, masks are optional but encouraged among concertgoers.
Upon admission, people can show a “vaccination card or a photo of it (digital or printed) and an ID matching the name on your vaccine documentation,” according to the DSSD website. Unvaccinated attendees must show proof of a negative test taken in the last three days. Printed or digital results from a PCR or Rapid test both meet concert requirements, with the name that matches the patron’s ID.
Children ages 3 to 12 years are permitted to wear a mask at all times, when not eating or drinking, instead of showing proof of a negative test. Children under 2 are exempt from all requirements.
Concerts are rain or shine, with some exceptions
While the first night show for Wednesday Nite Live was already moved inside because of the remnants of Hurricane Ida raining down on Stamford, DSSD President David Kooris said people shouldn’t count on an indoor concert every time a drizzle is in the forecast.
“It's going to be a case-bybringing case basis,” he said. Rock band Blues Travelers took the stage at the Palace Theater Wednesday because of the predicted intensity of the storm and because the Palace was available. But technically, Wednesday Nite Live and Alive@Five are all-weather events.
The DSSD website warns preemptively that “lightning storms may cause the venue to be unsafe for performers, staff, volunteers and ticket holders and attendees may be prohibited from entering or remaining in the venue in such an instance.”
Refunds for the shows are not always guaranteed. If a show gets shuttered before the doors open, refunds will be issued. But if inclement weather forces an end to the show once it has already started, the DSSD said it will not provide refunds.
There’s a laundry list of things you can’t bring inside
The city-sponsored concerts prohibit patrons from in a flurry of items. The list includes: Outside liquids of any kind including alcoholic beverages; illegal substances of any kind; backpacks or oversized bags larger than 18”x14;” coolers, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, hover boards or sporting equipment; weapons or firearms; pets, though service dogs are allowed; cameras that have detachable lenses, along with video cameras and audio recording equipment; drones or tents.
You can skip the line by purchasing tickets beforehand
Tickets for both concert series are available through the DSSD’s website and Eventbrite. Attendees can virtually purchase “early bird” tickets at a discounted rate, but prices hike from $25 to $35 at midnight the day before the show.
Tickets are purchasable via Eventbrite “up to the moment you walk in,” according to Kooris.
Academy Award-winning composer and musician Jon Batiste — who’s also the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — is set to take the stage for the first night of Alive@Five.
Hometown funk band Light Warriors will open for Batiste, and the show is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. For Wednesday Nite Live performances, doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
A full list of both Alive@Five and Wednesday Nite Live performers is available on the DSSD website.