Iowa Arboretum & Gardens hosts Tunes in the Trees Summer Concert Series

Sara Jordan-Heintz
Contributing writer
The Iowa Arboretum & Gardens has launched a new summer concert series called Tunes in the Trees held at the Beckwith Grand Pavilion the second Tuesday of each month. Pictured is attendee Perry Edwards from the Arboretum’s first concert event in June, featuring the Matt Woods Band.

Iowa Arboretum & Gardens, 1875 Peach Ave., Madrid, is home to gardens, woodlands and trails open to the public to explore. It’s also the site of a new summer concert series called Tunes in the Trees held at the Beckwith Grand Pavilion.

“It was a dream and vision of our board president Don Draper who has seen concerts be very successful at other public arts (venues), so he created a concert committee and went looking at different ways we could put on a concert at the Arboretum,” said Arboretum Executive Director Mark Schneider.

The schedule is as follows (second Tuesday of each month) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.:

  • July 12 – NOLA Jazz Band; food by Smokin Bid Dawgs
  • Aug. 9 – Dueling Fiddles; food by Weinie Wonderland
  • Sept. 13 – Gilbert High School Jazz Band with opener Diva and the Deacons featuring Tina Haase Findlay; food by Smokin Big Dawgs

“We really want to bring people here for something totally different, ” Schneider said. “We were happy with the turnout of our first event in June. It’s a beautiful setting for a concert. It’s just different and that has an attraction to it.”

He added that the Arboretum plans to offer the concert series on an annual basis.

Tickets can be purchased at each event, plus admission is free for members (and kids age 12 and under) and $5 for non-members. Food trucks will be on-site starting at 5 p.m. Drinks, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase. Attendees can bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. People are welcome to walk the grounds and explore what the Arboretum has to offer.

Funds raised go to support the Arboretum’s mission.

Schneider said the Arboretum is working on a master plan with some announcements yet to come. Currently, a trails extension project is underway, which would add more woodland trails for hiking. The design process has begun, with the build to start in 2023.

Work repairing the damage sustained in the 2020 derecho continues. A total of 350 trees were lost on the main campus during the storm and 170 were planted last year to begin to replace them. An additional 135 trees are slated to be planted in 2022.

In addition to the concerts, the grounds will host a free Butterflies in the Garden event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 9. Guests will learn about butterfly plants from David McKinney, who is the curator of the grounds.

He will talk about which plants butterflies like best and how to cultivate those plants at home. Donald Lewis, ISU Extension entomologist, will be on hand to discuss the butterfly’s life cycle.

Participants will also have the opportunity to view an educational documentary at 1:30 p.m. and see these creatures in their natural habit during a guided tour at 3 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., there will be a Q & A with Donald Lewis, David McKinney and Greg Anderson. Learn more about events at

For more information about the Summer Concert Series visit or contact Event Specialist Amber Schmidt at or 515-795-3216.

The Arboretum is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $7 per person; youth 3-12 years old $2; 2 and under free.