Funny how people who couldn't find Powell Symphony Hall with a map and compass will turn out in droves come summer for free outdoor music. But who can blame them -- what's more warm-weather-tastic than the cool night air, a lawn chair, perhaps a little wine and cheese, and some tunes? This year in St. Louis, two long-running free music series match up with a brand-new free one out at the almost-brand-new West County Center to offer a little something for everyone -- whether you're city folk or county folk, whether or not you've got tykes in tow and whatever sort of music you may jones on.
If you dig lawn festivals -- where you're encouraged to bring blankets, picnics and kids if you've got them -- then your thing is the Missouri History Museum's returning Twilight Tuesdays series, running from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Tuesday (through June 10 with one Wednesday exception, on May 14). Big band, blues, bluegrass, jazz and rhythm & blues will all be represented out on the museum's front lawn (near the intersection of Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue). Some of the acts are local; others are regional, coming from Memphis and other points. Food and drink will be available for sale. One caveat: You might want to get there on the early side -- the typical crowd ranges between 1,200 and 2,000. And don't fret about inclement weather; the shows move inside if it rains. Go to mohistory.org or call 314-746-4599 for more information.
Looking for something a little more whoop-whoop -- that is, somewhere to get your flirt on with stiff drink in hand and like-minded singles afoot? How about a party sponsored by radio station Z107.7 at ritzy West County Center (a.k.a. Westfield Shoppingtown West County, at the intersection of I-270 and Manchester Road)? The soon-to-debut "Parties Under the Dove," on five Tuesdays from May 20 through September 23, is being touted as "St. Louis' newest after-work party," running 5-8 p.m. for the 21-and-over set only. Don't bring your own vittles and vino, but do look forward to the martinis, margaritas and beer for sale, along with a live radio broadcast, contests and prizes. In keeping with its networking vibe -- plus, because it's being held on the concrete patio of a mall -- this is a standing sort of affair. If it rains, the party's moved into the parking garage. The all-local musical lineup includes the Ralph Butler Band, Boom, the UltraViolets, Honeyvox and the Urban Jazz Naturals. Check out kirkwoodarea.com for specifics.
And for those who can't just get enough of the aforementioned option number two, a similar vibe is going down at Westport Plaza, on the third Thursday of every month, beginning May 15 and running through October. Like the West County Center series, this is primarily a happy-hour thing as well, running 4:30-7:30 p.m. -- so again, no picnics. And it's also got a Top 40 radio-station sponsor, 101.1 FM The River. This party is another big one, with about 1,500 people turning out on average for live music, drink concessions and the chance to meet other singles. More information can be had at www.westportstl.com.