It's NOT a grudge match that would pull one team into the river, or a cage match with only one winner. But some see it as a friendly competition between Linn county's two biggest communities that each host annual summer music festivals.

But before one can properly debate which weekly music event is BETTER than the other, we must look at each and ask...

What are the major differences between Marion's Uptown Getdown and Cedar Rapids Uptown Friday Nights?

  • Marion's summer music festival Uptown Getdown is held on THURSDAY nights from 6:00 p.m. - 9;00 P.M. The Cedar Rapids Jaycees Uptown Friday Nights happen on...(duh) Fridays...and they sometimes run as late as 10:00 p.m.
  • Marion's Uptown Getdown events are held in the cozy confines of Marion's City Square Park.The Jaycees events are held at the much larger McGrath Amphitheater on the bank of the Cedar River.
  • Marion's schedule runs through August only and is shorter than Uptown's which starts in Spring and runs all through the summer.

But beyond these minor differences, both events offer low-or-no-cost local entertainment that brings plenty of fun, vibrant live music from local talent to the stage.

Last week the band Crazy Delicious brought a huge crowd to Marion for their kickoff weekend. This Thursday features Wyld Nept onstage in Marion while the Jaycees host Boot Jack Band at McGrath Amphitheater.

For this reporter, it's a toss-up. I love them both for similar and different reasons. Marion is a free event, and seems cozy, with lots of shade trees. Uptown is a younger crowd (but doesn't allow kids under 21) so it's more of a "party" atmosphere.

Whichever you prefer, you can make it to both events on any given week and enjoy some great live local music. And don't forget to check out the free MUSIC In The PARK series at Hiawatha's Guthridge Park for even more free live music concerts in August.

So the next time someone from newbo says there's nothing to do in these parts, remind them you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to have a little fun in Linn County.

That's my cheapskate tip for the day.