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Crowds flock to White River State Park for city’s largest concert in months

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — White River State Park welcomed nearly 1,000 concertgoers on Saturday for the city’s largest live entertainment event in months. 

The “Groovin’ Back Downtown” concert – hosted by park officials and nonprofit organization Downtown Indy Inc. – was held outdoors in the park amphitheater. 

Seating adhered to social distancing guidelines and attendees were required to wear masks. No compliance issues were reported.  

“We’re just excited to be around people again,” said LeToryia Gowdy, who attended the concert with her family.

Organizers hoped the event would encourage people to patronize downtown Indianapolis after months of public safety challenges, increasingly visible homelessness and business closures. 

Downtown restaurants and retailers that managed to stay open struggled to replace revenue once generated by conventions and other large-scale events.

“We wanted people to come early, stay late and really support the restaurants,” said Carolene Mays-Medley, executive director of the White River State Park Development Commission. 

Groovin’ Back Downtown successfully drew crowds from across Indiana and other states.

“It was just so refreshing to be outside, and enjoy the music and the live environment,” said Barbara Rand, who traveled from St. Louis to attend the concert with relatives from Washington, D.C. 

She described Indianapolis as “beautiful” and was surprised to learn the city’s downtown area was the focus of a six-figure recovery initiative.

In August, the city announced plans to spend $750,000 on downtown revitalization, including public safety improvements.