For over 30 years, Marsh Symphony on the Prairie has provided outdoor music lovers a one-of-a-kind music experience. Starting in the early 80’s, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Conner Prairie partnered together to provide a public summer concert series at the Conner Prairie Amphitheatre. With Marsh Supermarkets as the ISO’s title sponsor, the concerts have been a huge success and though similar in nature throughout the seasons, the series has definitely grown along the way.
Each concert is a little different and on a summer evening you might hear anything from Beethoven to Broadway wafting through the air. There have been concerts dedicated to the Masters — Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky, as well as the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, film music, Broadway, pop, folk, Motown, and jazz.
The series also includes a performance showcasing the talent of young musicians. Each summer the winner of the Michael Ben and Illene Komisarow Maurer Young Musicians Contest has the opportunity to perform with the Orchestra on stage.
Symphony on the Prairie Information:
Gates to the theatre open two hours prior to all concerts for picnicking.
You may bring lawn chairs, blankets, food and alcoholic beverages. Stadium lawn chairs are also available for rental at $5 a chair. There are plenty of food vendors on site selling food and drinks (popcorn, soft serve ice-cream, soft drinks, beer, wine, etc.) if you don’t want to pack anything to bring.
There are also tables down front with a great view of the stage that can be rented for the evening. The tables accommodate up to 10 people and are $59 ($79 for premium concerts) in addition to the admission price. They can be reserved ahead of time at 317.639.4300 or online at IndianapolisSymphony.org and a limited number will be sold at the gate.
Premium parking is available for $20 a spot and will get you into and out of the concert quickly. Spots must be purchased in advance by calling the Hilbert Circle Theatre Box Office at 317.639.4300 and can be accessed from North Drive, located north of the main entrance.
Groups of 30 or more can purchase a private, roped-off lawn section, premium table seating, and special savings on tickets and tables. These outdoor concerts would be perfect for a birthday or anniversary party, corporate functions, or family reunions. If you’re coming with a large group you can also have Conner Prairie cater your event.
Listen to the Symphony from above by taking flight in the Conner Prairie hot air balloon. Weather pending, the hot air balloon makes several trips into the sky before and during the concerts.
Tips from Symphony on the Prairie Fans:
- Arrive early and find a seat in the shade or right in front of the stage.
- Remember where you park!
- Bring a wagon or a rolling cooler. If neither is available, the Boy Scouts have wagons to help you move things from your car.
- Bring a vinyl tablecloth to place under the blanket you’re sitting on to eliminate dampness. It can also double as a cover for any unexpected rain.
- If you don’t feel like sitting on the ground, you can also bring folding chairs.
- Bring an additional blanket or sweaters/light jackets for when evening comes; even on the hottest days, it can get very cool at night.
- Picnic-style foods are the best kind! Some suggestions are: wine, cheese, crackers, baguettes, frozen grapes, croissants, or frozen cider at the Connor Prairie Apple Store!
- Have trash bags ready for when you’ve finished eating, and bring a flashlight in case it’s too dark to check the area where you’re sitting.
- Bring sunglasses, the sun sets behind the amphitheater.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!
- Bring your friends and loved ones and arrange a potluck style picnic.
- Make it a rule to turn off all electronic devices. Live in the moment with the music and people you’re with without the distractions.
- Bring a deck of cards to pass the time before the show begins.
- Glow sticks are less harsh than flashlights and will be more fun for your kids to have.
- Wait for a while after the concert; enjoy the company of others, the starry night sky…and not participating in the stop-and-go traffic on your way out of the parking lot.
- Go early, stay late. Enjoy.
For more information on the current or upcoming season and how you can purchase tickets visit IndianapolisSymphony.org.