The band plays at 8 p.m., but the crowd gathers much earlier around the bandstand on the Iola square. The Iola Municipal Band has presented free summertime concerts since 1871. It's the longest continually performing city band in Kansas and one of the oldest in the country.
The beat goes on every Thursday night during June and July. The band program is printed each week in the Iola Register, but Iola residents are quite familiar with the routine. Every concert begins with The Star Spangled Banner and ends with a John Philip Sousa march. Broadway medleys, the State Song, Home on the Range often get top billing.
Performances draw people of all ages. Music lovers sit on park benches, blankets, lawn chairs, or in their cars. Each week a different organization dishes up ice cream and sweet treats as a fund raiser for their organization. The 48 band members come from every walk of life and fill up the restored 1910 bandstand. Many residents have grown up with the band, and the music will continue for years to come.