Another sign locally of how 2020 is going to be unlike any other year, Bell's has announced its summer beer garden concert series is cancelled for this year.

"This past weekend should have been the first concert of our 2020 Summer Garden Series, affectionately known as The Garden Opener. As much as we missed celebrating with everyone, safety is always our first priority. It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to cancel our 2020 Beer Garden concert series this summer." - Bell's Eccentric Cafe via Facebook.

While this news comes as no surprise, going to concerts at Bell's, even when they were moved inside, had become a highlight of summer (and the rest of the year, too) in Kalamazoo, especially with Arcadia Creek being phased out as festival site, by both construction and whiny residents.

But the announcement probably is a precursor to many others to follow, whether it's music events or sporting events, pretty much anything that draws a crowd and is popular, this year, can't be.  Not only is it about keeping staff safe, but also, how do you enforce social distancing, especially after someone's has a few drinks?

What makes Bell's concerts so special is the eclectic mix of acts they schedule for the Eccentric Cafe. Everything from quirky bands, to a Sir-Mix-A-Lot, to cover bands, to bands like Gin Blossoms, who might not fill an arena but certainly are still entertaining.

Bell's Beer Garden. (Dave Benson, TSM)

Concert or no concert, Bell's beer garden has become one of the best places to go in Kalamazoo, especially on a warm summer day. Peaceful, maybe even serene, with the sounds of the city somewhat muted and distant.

Still, if and when we get past this health crisis, it'll be one of the top items on a list of fun things to do in Kalamazoo, especially on a hot summer night.

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