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Live events are slowly returning: Here is a look at what's ahead in Phoenix

Canacopia Fest.jpg
Posted at 2:17 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 17:18:25-04

PHOENIX — After more than a year with very few concerts, events, festivals, and shows, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more event producers, theaters, and venues are moving forward with planning events, festivals, exhibitions, and concerts.

Large venues, such as ASU Gammage, Arizona Federal Theatre, Ak-Chin Pavilion, and Gila River Arena, have their premier events scheduled for late summer or early fall, including Hamilton at ASU Gammage, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco at Arizona Federal, Dierks Bentley at Ak-Chin Pavilion, and Harry Styles at Gila River Arena.

Smaller venues, like The Nash, Arizona Broadway Theatre, and The Phoenix Theatre Company, held outdoor events during the winter and spring and have either already brought shows inside or are planning to soon.

"We've been doing outdoor shows at the Arizona Jewish Historical Society garden, and even there, just the idea of having live music was so exciting. And to put it back inside the venue, which is kind of the vibe we've always had, is something we're really looking forward to," said Steve Maun, manager director at The Nash.

When it comes to outdoor festivals, the Arizona Taco Festival recently announced that it would return to Salt River Fields on Oct. 23 & 25. Advanced tickets are on sale.

HDE Agency, which produces several events in the East Valley, recently announced its inaugural Canacopia Festival on June 5 in Mesa. Other producers have dates in mind for the fall but are waiting on city permits.

"Events as normal, I think they'll be as normal as they can get, which is, you know, going through a box office, walking in through the entry gate, seeing live entertainment, eating food, drinking beverage, and possibly playing some lawn games. I see that as normal," said Landon Evans, creative director at HDE Agency. "But, the 10-,15-, 20,000-person events, I don't see that happening until early 2022."

Some cities and towns are also planning to hold Fourth of July celebrations, many of which were canceled last year.

Here is a brief look at some of what's happening and upcoming at some of the venues around town.

Upcoming events (that have been announced):

  • June 5 - Canacopia Festival: An inaugural adults-only festival at Eastmark in Mesa that will feature more than 60 canned spirits -- beer, wine, hard seltzers -- from 16 brands. It will be held on June 5 in two seasons: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. There will be live music, food, and lawn games. More information.
  • June 5, July 3, Aug. 7, Sept. 4 - CreekWest SummerFest: Frontier Town, a western attraction, in Cave Creek is hosting CreekWest SummerFest with food trucks, games, and family-friend attractions. The event is free. Food, drink, and rides may have individual costs. More information.
  • July 4 - Goodyear's Star-Spangled 4th: Goodyear's annual fireworks show will be held at Goodyear Ballpark. There will be live entertainment, kids activities, food, drinks, and fireworks. Details still to be announced.
  • July 3 - Arizona Celebration of Freedom Drive-In Fireworks Show: To maintain social distancing, the City of Mesa's Independence Day fireworks show will be a drive-in event this year. The free show will be held in the parking lot of Fiesta Mall. More information.
  • July 4 - Gilbert 4th of July Celebration: The Gilbert 4th of July Celebration will be held at Gilbert Regional Park for the first time. There will be live music, food trucks, and fireworks. General admission is free. VIP packages are sold out. More information.
  • July 4 - Peoria All-American Festival: Peoria will host its yearly Independence Day event and fireworks show at Peoria Sports Complex. There will be live music, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers will headline, inflatables, games, slides, food trucks, and fireworks. The event is free. VIP tickets are available. More information.
  • July 4 - Scottsdale 4th of July Celebration: WestWorld of Scottsdale will again host Scottsdale's annual Fourth of July fireworks show. There are three ways to experience it: an in-person barbecue with games and activities; a BYOP (bring your own party) ticket that gives people a reserved parking spot and ability to bring their own food, drinks, chairs, and blankets; and a drive-in ticket where people can watch from inside their vehicle. More information.

Recent concert announcements:

  • Florida Georgia Line, I Love My Country Tour, Nov. 11, 2021, at Ak-Chin Pavilion
  • Justin Bieber, Justice World Tour, Feb. 22, 2022, at Gila River Arena
  • Mike Epps, In Real Life Comedy Tour, Sept. 24, 2021, at Gila River Arena
  • Outlaw Music Festival, Willie Nelson & Family, The Avett Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Lucina Williams, Ida Mae, Oct. 15, 2021, at Ak-Chin Pavilion
  • Dead & Company 2021 Tour, Oct. 25, 2021, at Ak-Chin Pavilion
  • Billie Eilish, Happy Than Ever World Tour, April 2, 2022, at Gila River Arena

Arizona Broadway Theatre

Theatre has returned to the stage at Arizona Broadway Theatre. Godspell is running through June 13, followed by Gilligan’s Island, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Spitfire Grill.

They also recently announced their 2021-2022 lineup, which will begin in the fall: Chicago, Elf the Musical, Gypsy, Flashdance The Musical, Ghost The Musical, The SpongeBob Musical, and Happy Days, A New Musical. Tickets for the first three shows will go on sale in August 2021. https://azbroadway.org

Phoenix Theatre Company

Phoenix Theatre Company's summer series begins in June with Becoming Dr. Ruth, followed by Daddy Long Legs, and Pump Boys & Dinettes.

They also announced the productions that will be part of their 2021-2022 Mainstage, including Steel Magnolias, Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, The Rocky Horror Show, Million Dollar Quartet Christmas, The Hello Girls, Singing’ in the Rain, The Color Purple, Something Rotten!, Always…Patsy Cline, and On Your Feet. www.phoenixtheatre.com

The Nash

After 14 months since its last performance on its downtown Phoenix stage, The Nash is beginning to schedule performances for the summer months. Currently, shows are scheduled on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in June, July, and August. For the June shows, capacity will be reduced and masks will be required as those shows were booked prior to the CDC's relaxed guidelines, the venue said. https://thenash.org

ASU Gammage

With Broadway set to reopen in the fall in New York City, Broadway national tours will also make their return to stages across the country in the fall. Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton is set to kickoff ASU Gammage's fall season, followed by Mean Girls, My Fair Lady, and The Band's Visit. In 2022, Tootsie, Hadestown, Come From Away, and Rogers Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, and The Lion King will make stops in Tempe.

Season subscriptions for all eight shows (The Lion King is not included in season packages) are on sale now. Individual show tickets are not on sale and on-sale dates have not been announced. www.asugammage.com

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts recently unveiled its 2021-2022 season, which features a variety of artists and performances, from Mavis Staples to Jennie Fahn’s solo comedy show, Under The Jello Mold, to Julia Chacón Flamenco Theatre.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts (SMoCA) has two new exhibitions on display: And It’s Build on the Sacred, which "reflects on the gentrification of Indigenous land and the handling of unwanted Euro-American religious objects," and "Voice-Over: Zineb Sedira," a piece inspired by the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers. scottsdaleperformingarts.org

Chandler Center for the Arts

Chandler Center for the Arts has a few events scheduled over the summer, but the majority of its season begins in the fall. Upcoming performances Boz Scaggs, Amy Grant, Drumline Live!, Buddy Guy, and Ledisi. www.chandlercenter.org

Madison Center for the Arts

The Madison is a new 16,000-square-foot performing arts venue in Phoenix, part of the Madison School District. Upcoming shows include Animaniacs in Concert, Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville, Potted Potter - The Unauthorized Harry Experience, American Ballet Theatre, and Mummenschanz you & me. www.themadison.org