When Down by the Riverside kicks off its annual season Sunday night, there will be a purple hue in the sky.
In fact, there'll be a touch of purple at every Down by the Riverside concert this season, leading up to the Aug. 18 finale by The Revolution, Prince's former backing band.
"The rooftop lights of the government center will be purple every Sunday night, plus the entire week of the Revolution concert," said Chris Alcott, assistant general manager of Riverside Concerts, the arm of city government that organizes the series.
It's all part of a Summer of Purple tribute to Prince, who died in 2016.
After Prince's death, tribute concerts and memorials were quickly arranged in the Twin Cities. Now, Alcott said, "We're doing a Rochester event in honor of Prince."
This year's DBTR T-shirts given out on opening night are purple, downtown bars and restaurants are being encouraged to come up with Prince or purple-themed menu items, and other related events, including screenings of "Purple Rain," are being put in place.
Alcott said he expects the Revolution concert, plus this week's opening show by 10,000 Maniacs, to draw the biggest crowds this year. Whether they'll attract the 20,000 people that the most popular concerts in the past decade have drawn, only time will tell.
Part of that might be decided, once again, by how much trouble people are willing to put up with to get downtown. Construction projects and Down by the Riverside have gone hand-in-hand in recent years.
Three years ago, it was the Mayo Civic Center expansion project; for the past two years it was the Hilton/parking ramp project; this year it's the torn up streets around the library and government center.
Look on the bright side, though: All the downtown parking ramps are open and accessible this year. In fact, there are more parking spots in the ramps than in recent years with the new Ramp 6 (next to the new Hilton Hotel) now open.
But if street construction and detours have you spooked, think about leaving the car at home.
"The message we've been trying to send for the last few years is to consider walking or biking," Alcott said.
Once downtown, he said, "There shouldn't be a direct impediment to the park."
In other words, the thousands of people who normally attend the concerts shouldn't have any reason to stay home.
This year's lineup:
— Sunday: 10,000 Maniacs, with Trapper Schoepp opening. Classic pop.
— July 21: Mike Love, with Stanton West opening. Reggae.
— July 28: Lindsay Ell, with Debbie Anthony opening. Hot country.
— Aug. 4: Rare Earth, with Ringer Star and Lost Faculties opening. Classic R&B and pop.
— Aug. 11: Cloud Cult, with Sleeping Jesus opening. Alternative rock.
— Aug. 18: The Revolution, with DJ Supafly opening.
— Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not allowed in Mayo Park.
— Pets, other than service animals, are not allowed.
— You may bring coolers, food, drink, lawn chairs and blankets. No grills. Food and drink vendors are on site.
— You are not permitted to use stakes and ropes to reserve a seating location.
— The concerts go on rain or shine, unless weather becomes dangerous.
— All concerts start at 7 p.m. Admission is free.