It’s a celebration: Kool & the Gang will open the Columbus Symphony’s 2019 Nationwide Picnic with the Pops concert series.

The concert is Friday, June 14, at John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons, 160 S. High St. All the shows begin at 8 p.m.

“They can rock it,” said Stuart Chafetz, principal pop conductor for the Columbus Symphony.

Kool & the Gang released its first album in 1970. The band recorded some of the biggest funk and rhythm-and-blues hits of the 1970s and ’80s, including “Jungle Boogie,” “Ladies Night,” “Get Down on It” and the wedding favorite, “Celebration.”

For all shows, general-admission lawn tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the gate on the day of the show. Lawn tickets for children ages 3 to 12 are $10. Children 2 and younger are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 614-469-0939, at picnicwiththepops.com, or in person at the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts Ticket Center in the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St.

Adding to the opening weekend is an appearance Saturday, June 15, by Jefferson Starship, known for such hits as “Jane,” “Miracles,” “Find Your Way Back” and “We Built This City.”

Jefferson Starship formed in the 1970s after the departure of two members of psychedelic supergroup Jefferson Airplane. Starship was active for 10 years.

“What a power-packed opening weekend,” Chafetz said. “This is the kind of summer we’re going to have. It’s going to be a party through and through.”

Wrapping the sounds of a classical orchestra around rock and R&B is a musical sensation, Chafetz said.

“It gives it that sheen of sheer power,” he said.

There are eight shows this season, which ends July 27 with an appearance by the Ohio State University marching band.

“I have the best seat in the house because I’m in the middle of it,” Chafetz said.

“(This year) is the eighth year that Picnic with the Pops has been at the Columbus Commons location,” said Holly Wiencek, a spokeswoman for the symphony. “It is quite a striking picture when the lawn is full of happy and relaxed patrons enjoying a warm summer evening filled with great music. It truly feels like a home for the series.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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