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GMA's Sam Champion tells you how to see The Jonas Brothers for free

by Kona Gallagher, posted May 18th 2009 11:25AM
sam championRecently, I got the chance to speak with Sam Champion, the affable Good Morning America weatherman. We chatted a bit about GMA's upcoming Summer Concert Series, which is kicking off on May 22. The free concerts have moved from Bryant Park to Central Park this year, which allows for much larger audiences. So you know what that means, right? More space for screaming throngs of Jonas Brothers fans to gather in a central location this summer.

Read the interview to figure out when you need to book your trip to New York, or get the hell out of the city -- depending on your perspective.

Your Summer Concert Series is moving to Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, after being in Bryant Park for so many years. That's much farther away from your studios -- how are the anchors going to handle that? Are you going to be doing wind sprints to prepare?

Ha; you're actually the first person to ask that, and it's a smart question. This will be the behind-the-scenes game that will be played the entire summer: who can make it to the concerts? Because you're right; we're in Times Square, and you've got to get all the way up to the middle of Central Park, so it will be a frantic scramble to make it out of Times Square so we all get up there in time.

I've got the line-up here for the concert series, and you've got some great people: Lionel Richie, Kelly Clarkson, and Green Day is kicking it off next Friday, but there's one that we need to talk about. We need to talk about, Oh my God, The Jonas Brothers.

You know it's funny, because I didn't know who you were gonna go with, but you're right. You've got to say, "Oh my God," before you say, "The Jonas Brothers." Usually, it should be a piercing scream, "Oh my God," and then you say "The Jonas Brothers."

Right, and there should be some crying...

Yeah. There should be some crying and some uncontrollable breathing afterward.

Are you terrified? Because they're coming on June 12, and a lot of schools are out for summer break on June 12. So you're gonna have these kids who are not in school that day, who are going to be descending upon you. How are you preparing for this?

Oh, you've got the whole scene right. Because it is absolutely, positively going to be a mob scene. So when you have those performances on your line-up, like The Jonas Brothers, that you know have an incredibly huge and active fan base, they will be there. They will camp out all night, and they will be wide awake and they will yell and scream and sing. You've got to be on your toes for that, because you know you're gonna be mobbed.

Are you afraid you're going to die?

(Laughs) Well, here's the good news: I used to fill in some 20 years ago, and a lot has changed between then and now. They are very good about making sure that the crowd is safe and okay. They are very, very aware of that.

As far as people actually getting in to see the shows, whether it's The Jonas Brothers or any of the other acts, do you have any special tips for them?

The biggest thing is the park opens up at 6:00 in the morning, so they will let you in then. Our concerts are all free, so if you want to come, you can come. This is the great thing about moving into Central Park. When you have a venue like Bryant Park, you kind of are limited as far as the number of people who can be there, so you have to be really careful about the areas where people are. But with this venue, it is designed for music. It's designed for sound and it's designed for crowds. You're not going to be standing in a plaza some place squeezed up against a brick building. You are going to be right in the middle, and all you've gotta do is show up -- for free.

Right, because even if the Rumsey Playfield itself gets too full...

Exactly. There's all that grassy area outside in the park, and if you've actually been a New Yorker and done the Summerstage, then you know that's what people do; they bring their blankets out and they listen to the concert while they have their evening meal. Well, you can do the same thing with breakfast here. So if you want to have that great experience, there's plenty of open room; you can sit out and listen to the concert. This is such a smart move; it's a great way to listen to music.

Whether you're one of those who are planning on making a trip to see The Jonas Brothers or any of the other acts, or if you're just planning on watching it on TV from the comfort (and safety) of your own living room, here is the current schedule for the Summer Concert Series.

* May 22 – Green Day
* May 29 – Lionel Richie
* June 5 – John Legend
* June 12 – The Jonas Brothers
* June 19 – Jamie Foxx
* June 26 – The cast of Broadway's HAIR
* July 3 – Brad Paisley
* July 10 – Queen Latifah
* July 17 – TBD
* July 24 – TBD
* July 31– Kelly Clarkson
* August 7– TBD
* August 14 – Kenny Chesney
* August 21 – Reba McEntire

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