Kick Back During ‘Music in the Gardens’

Duke employee tickets are $10 for summer concerts in Duke Gardens

"Music in the Gardens" this year will feature seven concerts in Sarah P. Duke Gardens and two in Baldwin Auditorium. Some of the artists, from top left to right (clockwise), are: Hammer No More the Fingers, Spider Bags, Richard Buckner, and King Khan and The Shrines. Photos courtesy of Duke Performances

Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic basket - Duke Performances' "Music in the Gardens" series returns for its fourth year with concerts in June and July.

Music in the Gardens will feature seven outdoor shows at Sarah P. Duke Gardens and two concerts in Baldwin Auditorium. For the music series, Duke Performances is partnering with Merge Records in celebration of the Durham music label's 25th anniversary.

"Over the last five or 10 years, there's been a bevy of the world-class activity happening in Durham, whether it's exceptional restaurants, innovative businesses or world-class music," said Aaron Greenwald, executive director of Duke Performances. "Merge is a shining example of one of those world-class, innovative businesses that's been based here."

The music series begins June 3 with psychedelic soul band King Khan and The Shrines and includes eight other concerts through July 30. Duke staff and faculty pay $10 for the performances among the flora and fauna of the Gardens; $35 for performances in Baldwin.

"Even though we've had up to 1,000 people, it never feels too big," said Jan Little, director of education and public programs for Duke Gardens. "It always feels like just the right size. I see people greeting each other across the lawn. It's like a concert in your backyard."

The family-friendly outdoor concerts begin at 7 p.m. and end at dusk. Marianne Drysdale, a senior IT analyst within Duke Research Application Development, has attended "Music in the Gardens" since its debut four years ago.

"Duke Performances seems to get really great artists, and even if I'm not familiar with them, I've always enjoyed the shows and I like being able to have a picnic while we're watching the music," Drysdale said. "It's nice being outside in a beautiful setting."