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Second season of Rockin' Robbins opens Tuesday

Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo People sit on lawn chairs as they wait for a Rockin' Robbins performance July 19, 2016, at Robbins Island in Willmar. Tuesday is the kickoff for the second year of the concert series to benefit the Willmar city park.1 / 6
Courtesy of chrishawkey.com Country singer Chris Hawkey will perform Tuesday at Robbins Island in Willmar in the first concert of the Rockin' Robbins series.2 / 6
Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo Aleea Miedema, left, and Laura Miedema play with water misting fans July 19, 2016, during one of the Rockin' Robbins concerts in Willmar. The second year of the summer concert series begins Tuesday. Free concerts, food and beverage vendors and other family activities are featured.3 / 6
Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo Brooke Eischens sings and plays with the Dam Jammers in July 2016 during a Rockin' Robbins concert in Willmar. The Dam Jammers will play July 25 in this year's concert series to benefit Robbins Island Park in Willmar.4 / 6
Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo Dan Knapper plays the fiddle for Dam Jammers during a Rockin' Robbins concert July 19, 2016, at Robbins Island in Willmar. The Renville County band plays again July 25 for this year's concert series.5 / 6
Briana Sanchez / Tribune file photo A crowd is gathered to watch a performance Aug. 16, 2016, of Rockin' Robbins, the concert series that will be held again this year to benefit Robbins Island Park in Willmar.6 / 6

WILLMAR—The Rockin' Robbins music starts rocking Robbins Island Tuesday in Willmar.

The 2017 Rockin' Robbins concert series, presented by the Willmar Rotary Club, will have four performances this summer, all free and on Tuesday nights.

There will be food vendors, beer and wine, an artisan market and activities for children.

"Bottom line is we're gearing up for year number two," said Steve Brisendine, a member of the steering committee, during a recent interview. "We are really close to being ready to go."

The first show Tuesday features country singer Chris Hawkey. He got his start in his hometown of Union City, which lies on the border of Ohio and Indiana. In 2001, Hawkey became a co-host and producer of the "Powertrip Morning Show" on KFAN Radio in Minneapolis, according to the biography on his website. In 2010, Hawkey sang on songs with the group Rocket Club which would go on to reach the Billboard National Country charts.

The Dam Jammers will be playing July 25 for the second installment of the series. The website of the six-member bluegrass band from Renville County describes their music as ranging from rock, pop, and hip-hop to country and bluegrass.

The third event of the series has Matt Vee performing his Neil Diamond Tribute show "I Am, He Said" on Aug 1. A nephew of the 1960s pop star Bobby Vee, Matt Vee has played his show for tens of thousands all over the country, according to information provided on his website.

The fourth and final show Aug. 8 features the group Fabulous Armadillos. According to their website, the classic rock cover band's repertoire includes a number of themed shows such as Motown or One-Hit Wonders.

"We feel that we've picked the bands that will provide a variety of genres that will speak to everybody in the community," Brisendine said. "They all come highly recommended and put on a great show."

Vendor fees and sponsorship revenue will go towards the continued revitalization of Robbins Island, specifically a sign at the entrance to the park from the highway.

The funds raised from last year's vendors were donated to the Destination Playground on Robbins Island, which had its grand opening on June 24.

The Willmar Rotary Club, which started as two separate clubs, the Willmar and Willmar Lakes Rotary Clubs, got the idea for the concert series event begun last year from the St. Cloud Rotary Club, which hosts a similar concert series. The two Willmar clubs merged on July 1.

"We had so much fun working together on this Rockin' Robbins project that we thought 'why don't we come together as one club?'" Joy Baker, a member of the steering committee, said of the recent merger. "We can accomplish a lot more of our goals and have a lot more fun together."

The event fulfills the goals of the Vision 2040 community planning group by providing something to do for everybody in the community and contributing to the funds to revitalize Robbins Island Park, Brisendine said.

"We're trying to create a free, family-friendly carnival slash concert," said Mike Gramm, a member of the Willmar Rotary Club. "Our goal is to try to do something that improves the quality of life in Willmar."

Warm-up acts play from 5 to 6 p.m., and the main acts start at 6:30 p.m.

A free shuttle will run to the event every 15 minutes from 4:30 to 9:30 PM with stops at Heritage Bank, Kennedy Elementary School and Willmar Middle School.

More online

• For more information on the concert series, visit the Rockin' Robbins website at rockinrobbins.com.

• For more information on Chris Hawkey, see chrishawkey.com.

• More information on Dam Jammers may be found at damjammers.com.

• For more information on Matt Vee, see mattvee.com.

• More information on the Fabulous Armadillos is available at fabulousarmadillos.com.

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