Downtown Tucson just hasn’t been itself since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered venues and limited capacity at restaurants and bars.
But some of that once bustling hustle is inching back, courtesy of an intriguing partnership between Fox Tucson Theatre and Downtown Tucson Partnership.
Every Thursday through the month of April, the two groups are hosting “Troubadour Thursdays,” featuring Tucson musicians strolling downtown and playing bite-sized concerts at the patios of several restaurants.
“We are all missing live, in-the-moment contact with music and artists,” Fox Executive Director Bonnie Schock said. “We’re still waiting to be able to gather again at the Fox, but we just couldn’t wait any longer to share music in the vibrant landscape of our downtown neighborhood.”
The series kicked off April 1 with the desert rocking Kiko Jacome Duo, followed April 8 by the jazz ensemble Hot Club of Tucson.
Singer-songwriter Sophia Rankin is on deck Thursday, April 15, followed on April 22 by Peter McLaughlin and Alvin Blaine. The series concludes April 29 with PD Ronstadt and Don Armstrong singing songs mostly in Spanish.
Here’s how Troubadour Thursdays work: Artists gather at Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 5:30 p.m. and proceed along Congress downtown, with musical stops at seven restaurant patios — Charro Steak & Del Rey, 188 E. Broadway; The Hub, 266 E. Congress; Batch Tucson, 118 E. Congress; Ten55 Brewing, 110 E. Congress; La Chingada, 31 N. Scott Ave.; 47 Scott, 47 N. Scott Ave.; and Senae Thai Bistro, 63 E. Congress.
The artists will perform 15 to 20 minutes at each stop. There is no admission, although the hope is that people will eat out at the participating restaurants as a way of reinvigorating downtown.
“The restaurants really rely on the Fox and other entertainment venues to drive traffic into their businesses,” said Kathleen Eriksen, Downtown Tucson Partnership’s CEO. “This event helps to bring that support back as businesses continue to reopen safely. The traveling duos will enliven the streets and cafes with energy and music.”
The tour of the downtown patios runs until 8:30 p.m. For those who can’t make it but want to support the project, visit MusicReturns.GiveSmart.com to donate.
Schock has said she hopes to reopen Fox Tucson Theatre in late summer or early fall.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org.