Esplanade Association Announces GroundBeat: The Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series

Inaugural series will feature stunning riverfront views and a slate of local performing arts organizations in ‘off-Hatch Shell’ locations spread throughout the 3.1-mile-long park

May 24, 2018 – Boston, MA – The Esplanade Association ( is thrilled to announce GroundBeat: The Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series of diverse, carefully-curated, intimate musical performances, which kicks-off on June 3, 2018.

The Charles River Esplanade is already one of the largest outdoor concert venues in United States. Each year, roughly half-a-million people gather to see the beloved Boston Pops 4th of July concert as fireworks burst over the Charles River. Additionally, on Wednesday nights in the summer, Landmarks Orchestra delights hundreds of picnic-goers on the restored Hatch Shell Oval Lawn.

In 2018, nearly the entire 3.1 miles of Esplanade parkland will become a venue for enchanting musical performances spread throughout the season, including:


GroundBeat Kicks-Off with BAMS Fest will be a family-friendly, high-energy experience representing Boston’s best in live dance and music. The event will consist of three performances from local musicians and dancers and will run from 1:00pm to 2:30pm on Sunday, June 3 at Fiedler Field on the Esplanade.

On the evening of the Summer Solstice on Thursday, June 21, the Series continues with 59 brass players from Make Music Boston performing Water Music, a site-specific environmental piece inspired by the setting of the Esplanade lagoons. This performance will begin at 7:30pm as the sun sets over the Charles River.  

Finally, on Sunday, September 23, the Celebrity Series of Boston will produce Jazz Along the Charles: A Walkable Concert, as 25 jazz ensembles descend on locations throughout a two-mile loop of the Esplanade to simultaneously perform the same set list with 25 unique interpretations. Park visitors can experience the event from 2:00pm to 4:00pm as they walk through the Esplanade in any direction.

“We couldn’t be more excited to add new vibrancy to the Esplanade’s rich musical history by commissioning leading arts organizations from around Boston to perform in locations throughout our park in 2018,” offered Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “We think GroundBeat will offer something for a variety of musical interests and we’re delighted to partner with a collection of fantastic organizations and artists to offer each performance in this Series to the public free of charge!”

“BAMS Fest is truly excited to be a part of GroundBeat as it provides the opportunity to present how underutilized spaces can be transformed into cultural destinations for all to enjoy, explore and play in,” said Catherine T. Morris, Founder, Curator, and Executive Director, Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest.

“The Esplanade is the ideal venue for Water Music at Make Music Boston on the summer solstice!” said Maria Finkelmeier, Founder and Artistic Director, Kadence Arts. “We are honored to present this brand new art-music piece, inspired by the Charles River and featuring over 50 performers and 5 local composers. We are thankful that the Esplanade Association shares our vision of activating all spaces in our city as venues for art creation and presentation.”

“Celebrity Series is delighted to produce our next public performance project – Jazz Along the Charles – on the Esplanade this September. The Esplanade is the perfect location for this walkable concert,” said Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director, Celebrity Series. “It will kick off our 80th season with a celebration of jazz in Boston, with twenty-five jazz ensembles of local musicians, amateur and professional alike, performing a curated set list that showcases Boston musicians and composers. This will be a wonderful afternoon of music in Boston’s iconic park.”

In addition to the three performances above, the Esplanade Association will program small pop-up selections by local artists on the Esplanade docks and other informal – and unannounced – locations throughout the season to foster memorable experiences for visitors to the park. All performances in the GroundBeat Series are free to the public.


GroundBeat: the Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series is supported through a grant of The Boston Foundation, awarded in late 2017, to allow the Esplanade Association to increase opportunities for live arts and culture events in this park. The Series is an attempt to showcase for art- and music- producing organizations throughout the region seeking a stage to entertain the public that the Esplanade boasts a variety of thoughtful, flexible venues with the Esplanade Association as partner.

About the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade Association ( is a 100% privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and build community in the park by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association is dedicated to improving the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside park.


About Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest

Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that strives to break down racial and social barriers to arts, music, and culture for marginalized communities of color across Greater Boston.


About Make Music Boston

Make Music Boston is a live, free musical celebration on June 21, the longest day of the year! Enjoy and participate in concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the city! Make Music Boston is part of an international effort in more than 750 cities in 120 countries. Inspired by France’s Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day is a day for all musicians – young, old, professional, or amateur – and all audiences.


About Celebrity Series of Boston 

Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond.  The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 80 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience.


About the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.