Making the Most of McCooks


Continuing summer concerts and valuing the community


Jazz, blues, country, orchestra, classic rock. Local bands accommodating to all listeners. Watching the sunset in the green as you listen. This East Lyme tradition draws in 400 to 500 people per event, and it is one of the most unique activities in town.

Mike McDowell, the Recreation Supervisor for East Lyme Park and Recreation, is a vital figure in the community. From scheduling concerts Wednesday and Friday nights in the summer to making East Lyme Day possible, Mr. McDowell and the East Lyme Parks and Recreation team are the backbone of this beautiful town’s distinct events.

McCooks Summer Concert Series held 19 concerts in 2021. Connecticut-born bands got the opportunity to perform for crowds eager to support them. The concerts also gave Mr. McDowell and his team the opportunity to experiment with new lighting around the stage to make the event more memorable.

“So far, the lighting and being able to play with the lights has been my favorite part of the series. My favorite band is probably the Rotary Band. They put on a classic rock, down to earth show,” said Mr. McDowell.

The concert series began in 2010, featuring small town bands, and drawing in a crowd of 40 some people. With help of Mr. McDowell’s work and previous Park and Recreation member John Lake’s promotion, the concerts have grown to be one of the most popular events in town.

From Mr. McDowell’s years of working on the concert series, he hopes that people of all ages appreciate East Lyme for its diverse variety of activities available. Doing something as simple as having a picnic in the green or supporting local businesses helps keep the town vibrant and individual.

“East Lyme is a really nice place to be. I don’t know if everyone understands how fortunate we are with the natural resources around us. It’s easy to say there’s nothing to do here, but just look outside and get outside,”