What Uptown Friday Nights Are All About [GALLERY]
Friday night, a near record crowd showed up to kick off summer with the Cedar Rapids Jaycee's Annual Uptown Friday Nights. By the time attendance was tallied, organizers realized in just over 24 hours, nearly 5000 people had been in attendance at the McGrath Amphitheater having an amazing time.
After a fantastic weekend, Friday almost feels like forever ago. But the memories of a fantastic night remain, as Uptown Friday Nights 2015 was launched to a huge crowd. It marked the second night in a row we were in attendance at the Amphitheater, as Chicago played to a crowd of nearly 3000 the night before. We were worried as to how the attendance would be Friday, as it was the holiday weekend, but any concerns were quickly dissolved as people began coming out in droves as the workday ended.
In case you're unfamiliar, Uptown Friday Nights has been put on by the Cedar Rapids Jaycees for 27 years now. Almost every Friday night, everyone 21+ is invited to step into the weekend with food, drink, friends, fun, and live music at one of Cedar Rapids best all outdoor bars, the McGrath Amphitheater. (At least, that's what it becomes for Uptown events.) The event was in Greene Square Park until last year when it moved to the Amphitheater, a perfect choice.
The weather was perfect for the night, and the bands fantastic. The first band, 2 local guys on guitars who go by the name Well Strung, got the event started as the crowds began to enter, just as gates opened at 5p. Their set would last just under an hour, and ended with a surprise, as one of the guys called his girlfriend on stage, then surprised her with a proposal, stunning the crowd.
The drinks continued to pour, as more people poured in, getting ready as Cedar Falls band, The Pork Tornadoes, took the stage just after 6p. We knew these sharp dressed men put on a great show, with an incredible mix, but their 3 sets blew our mind with the crazy variety of music they covered. Really nothing from the 90's to current music was off limits. From Taylor Swift, to Justin Timberlake, to Beyonce's "Halo", OneRepublic's "Apologize", and even Snoop Dogg. The crowd loved every moment of each of the 3 sets, and 2 song encore. And all night, the band and the Jaycees had one goal, to beat the Chicago attendance. (I think they came just slightly short.)
It was a ton of fun for everyone, and we invite you to come out this Friday to catch the Swing Crew. They've got another great set-list, even more diverse than the Pork Tornadoes, covering everything from classic rock, country, pop, swing, "island beat" and more. To them, it's about whatever gets the crowd going. We also hear they are known for pranks, jokes, and maybe even some stunts. All I know if I can't wait for the fun again Friday night.