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The lake takes center stage, ushering in a new era of concerts at Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce has constructed a floating stage for a series of concerts this summer and fall.
Provided rendering
Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce has constructed a floating stage for a series of concerts this summer and fall.

Perhaps you danced with your sweetheart to the music of Count Basie in Lake Compounce’s Starlite Ballroom (which still exists, by the way) or rocked out with your friends to the likes of Poison or New Kids on the Block back in the day? Well, Lake Compounce is bringing back concerts to the park this summer, this time with a new twist: the stage is in the lake.

Actually, it’s floating on top of Lake Compounce, about 60 yards from shore near the amusement park’s “Crocodile Cove.”

“It’ll be a 60-by-60-foot stage, with a backstage area, a green room for talent and then a 40-by-40-foot awning,” said Lynsey Winters, communications director for Palace Entertainment, which owns Lake Compounce. ”It is a giant floating raft, that’s probably the best way to describe it.”

The floating stage will be anchored by giant blocks that sink to the bottom of the lake, according to Winters. Equipment will be transported to and from the stage via a small, employees-only pier. Despite its position out in the open water, Winters doesn’t expect national acts like CeeLo Green (scheduled to perform on Saturday, June 24) or Everclear (Saturday, June 10) will experience any seasickness due to choppy waters.

“The lake overall is pretty calm,” Winters said. “We don’t get a ton of waves as it is. The stage is sturdy because it is so large, but people onstage will feel it if a big wave comes by. It is floating, after all.”

The floating stage was a pet project of former Lake Compounce General Manager Jeffrey Davis. He was looking for ways to “activate” the lake, according to Winters.

“The more he learned about the park, its history and concert days, he and his wife came up with this crazy idea to put a stage on the lake,” Winters said. “At first we were all like, ‘What do you mean? How is this going to work?’ But the concept came to life, and we’re really excited to open it up to the public.”

On the days during the summer that concerts are held during regular hours with a lifeguard on duty, guests will be able to swim out near the stage. The stage, which was built by Floating Stage Productions, is expected to be installed later this month. Lake Compounce’s new Summer Concert Series gets underway Memorial Day Weekend. All concerts are free with regular park admission.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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