Most years, the Raleigh Downtown Live free-concert series already has a fair chunk of its schedule set by now -- dates, and at least some of the headliners. But there's been no news this year because, for all intents and purposes, there won't be a RDL series in 2010. Call it a victim of progress.
Since 2005, RDL has presented about a half-dozen free day-long concerts per summer, happening every other Saturday at Moore Square. While the lineups were mostly second- or third-tier acts long past their hitmaking prime (Candlebox, anybody?), each season offered up the occasional Joan Jett, Violent Femmes or other nod to credibility. At the very least, RDL was a cheap way to see a whole bunch of music.
Flash forward to 2010, however, and the city is building a new 5,000-capacity downtown amphitheater just west of the Raleigh Convention Center. With Live Nation commited to booking 15 to 20 shows there this year, the Saturday dates RDL used to take up are suddently much more valuable.
So look for ticketed concerts at the new amphitheater to occupy those Saturday dates RDL used to occupy. Deep South Entertainment, the company that booked and produced RDL shows for the city, has some other free shows in the works (including The NC Ag Jam on June 19 in Moore Square, with country acts). There will also be a series of free mid-week evening concerts downtown, with local and regional acts -- think the old "Alive After Five" series.