MoonDance at Midnight Pass
“It’s a great way to be outside, enjoy what the community has to offer, and be with all your friends and neighbors. There’s a sense of community at MoonDance,” says Andy Haymaker.
Although many 2020 gatherings were canceled, postponed, or adapted to new community guidelines, MoonDance will remain one of Lexington’s most important resources in 2021 as its size as an outdoor venue allows for ample social distancing.
The MoonDance at Midnight Pass Amphitheater, located in Beaumont Centre Circle, offers live music and community events featuring local, regional, and national artistic talent. Tenth district councilmember Amanda Bledsoe says, “We have a very diverse neighborhood, and I am always excited to see how the community weaves together.”
In August 2010, MoonDance Amphitheater was developed by Tim Haymaker and his son, Andy Haymaker. When the Haymakers were progressing through zone changes and completing the final part of the Beaumont development, they were inspired to include a public feature. A survey was sent to residents of Beaumont, as well as surrounding neighborhoods like Harrods Hill and Rabbit Run to gauge interest and potential ideas as to what the neighborhood needed and what that feature might be.
“We were surprised with the responses because it wasn’t anything we thought about—the amount of people wrote in music venue or a place to watch performances,” says Andy Haymaker, adding, “What we really did was respond to the people in the area as to what they wanted.”
The Haymakers then initially began a public private partnership with the city of Lexington, where the city didn’t have any ownership of MoonDance, but managed the programming of events. In July 2018, the Haymaker Foundation ultimately donated MoonDance to the city of Lexington.
The first event held at the amphitheater was a show by Actors Guild of Lexington, but since then the outdoor venue has hosted everything from plays and concerts to festivals, movie nights, and occasional weddings.
In recent years, MoonDance Amphitheater has been home to summer concert series like Southland Jamboree, Big Band & Jazz, and Summer Nights in Suburbia. In 2018, the amphitheater introduced Freaky Friday Flicks, a free opportunity to enjoy a family-friendly spooky movie on the Fridays leading up to Halloween. Lexington’s beloved Shakespeare Festival originally found its home in Woodland Park until it was shuttered in 2006. SummerFest was launched to continue the legacy of outdoor theatre experiences in Lexington, and after a stint at the Arboretum, SummerFest relocated to Moondance for popular plays and musicals, before returning to its original home in Woodland Park.
The second annual Taste of Beaumont, an evening of food, activities and live music, was held at MoonDance in June 2018. Participants included City BBQ, Bru Burger, Old Kentucky Kettle Masters, and West Sixth Brewing. The event was sponsored by the Moondance Foundation, the City of Lexington’s 10th District Council Office, and Lexington Parks & Recreation.
Celeste Lewis plans the Summer Nights in Suburbia concert series, and says, “It’s very much supported by the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as attracting concert goers from all of Lexington and surrounding counties. All concerts are free and we feature local and regional bands—everyone knows we have amazingly talented musicians in this town. You can’t beat it.”
This article appears on page 40 & 41 of the 2021 annual print edition of Beaumont Guide.
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