Country legend Merle Haggard will kick off the summer series on June 21
Merle Haggard recently turned 77. That same day, April 6, the Academy of Country Music awarded him its Crystal Milestone Award. Garth Brooks handed him the trophy and then George Strait and Miranda Lambert performed a medley of some of Haggard's best songs.
Merle Haggard is your favorite country singer's favorite singer, a certified legend in a world where the word is overused, and he'll be at the Oregon Zoo June 21, kicking off a summer's worth of fantastic music.
Tickets for the zoo's 2014 summer concert series — presented by Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Oregon, the Oregon College Savings Plan and Banfield Pet Hospital — go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, April 25.
"Nothing says summer in Portland like a warm evening on the concert lawn listening to some great music," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "And the best part is these concerts benefit the zoo's programs for animal welfare, education and conservation. Our summer concerts would not be possible without the generous support of our presenting sponsors — Regence BlueCross Blue Shield of Oregon, the Oregon College Savings Plan and Banfield Pet Hospital."
This year's series brings some familiar faces back to the zoo. Hometown heroes Pink Martini will close the series with two shows, Aug. 22-23. After selling out the zoo last year, Huey Lewis and the News are back (Aug. 13). Trombone Shorty brings his fiery Crescent City funk back for the second year in a row (Aug. 16), this time with reinforcements: his fellow New Orleans funksters Galactic. The always popular and forever engaging Carolina Chocolate Drops swing back through the zoo July 12, with Portland's Sallie Ford and her new band opening the show. And, really, are there more familiar faces than Pat Benatar and Rick Springfield, who will be in town together July 27?
The rest of the lineup fills out with all-time greats and some contenders: a singer-songwriterly twofer with Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson (June 27), new country sensation Rodney Atkins (July 10), soul-folkster Amos Lee (July 17), indie chanteuse Tori Amos (July 18), old-school soul man Charles Bradley (July 25), alt-country original Lucinda Williams (July 30), folksy singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (Aug. 1), and a great bluesy double bill of Taj Mahal and John Hiatt (Aug. 8).
Oregon Zoo members may purchase tickets early, starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 22. To become a member, visit oregonzoo.org/get-involved/membership. Non-member music fans can receive a code to purchase tickets starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, by becoming a fan on the zoo's Facebook page or following the zoo on Twitter.
For more information, including show times and a full schedule, visit zooconcerts.com. Not every show has an opening act, so fans should make sure to arrive on time to make sure they don't miss part of the show. Concert tickets are good for zoo admission all day on the date of the show.
New this year: Tickets printed at home will come with a coupon good for 10 percent off food and beverage purchases (excluding alcohol) at the AfriCafé, right next to the concert lawn. Coupons are valid after 5 p.m. on concert nights.