Open mic event on Saturday will be debut for amphitheater in Albion

Photos by Tom Rivers: The new amphitheater at Bullard Park is shown this evening. Many musicians are expected to perform at the amphitheater on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 June 2021 at 9:19 pm

ALBION – The Village of Albion will officially celebrate the new improvements at Bullard Park on Saturday. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m. with an open mic concert to follow at the amphitheater.

That stage and performing venue is part of a major upgrade at the park, which also includes a new splash pad and a utility building with bathrooms.

File photo: The band Zero performs at the Rock the Park music festival at Bullard Park on July 25, 2015. Zack Burgess, center, is the lead singer. Zero will perform during open mic on Saturday at 6 p.m. and will be the house band during the evening. This pavilion has since been torn down.

The spray park opened last week on June 8 and has been a big attraction.

“I’m so happy,” said Ron Albertson, a member of the Rock the Park Committee that helped raise money for Bullard and organizes an annual music festival.

He stood on the stage recently at the amphitheater and was impressed.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Albertson said. “It’s better than I imagined.”

The Rock the Park Committee started about 8 years ago, initially with a focus to replace some aging playground equipment. The playgrounds were improved, but the committee had its sights on turning the park into a destination with the splash pad and amphitheater.

The latest project is part of about $800,000 in upgrades to Bullard, Albion’s most popular park on Route 31.

The village in December 2016 was awarded a $499,605 state grant for the Bullard projects. The village also received $97,500 from the county and $45,000 from the town of Albion, money that was through a revolving-loan fund by the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

The Albion DPW committed to $166,370 of in-kind services as part of Albion’s local share for the state grant. The DPW took down a pavilion and storage building in 2019 to make way for the new utility building. The DPW also ran a new sewer line across Route 31 near the Bullard entrance. That sewer line will service the park.

The DPW also ran 600 feet of waterline for the splash pad and utility building, several feet of sewer line, and did the electric service for the amphitheater.

“We worked hard on this for eight years,” Albertson said. “Now look at what we got.”

The amphitheater faces the northside of the park. The new spray park and a utility building with bathrooms are in the background.

The public and musicians are welcome to the open mic evening. The band Zero will perform first and will remain the house band throughout the evening. However, other bands and performers are expected to have a turn. The music is expected to go until 9 p.m., but could go longer if there is a lineup of musicians.

“I’m excited and this has obviously been a long time coming,” said Zack Burgess, a member of the band Zero, a village trustee and Rock the Park member. “It’s exciting to have something like this in our hometown.”

The open mic will be a chance for many musicians to play on the stage in its debut, rather than one band.

“Being a community effort to make this happen we wanted to open it up to the community,” Burgess said.