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The Yankee Express

Indian Ranch back in gear for a blockbuster 75th anniversary season

Concerts are again on tap at Indian Ranch, as the popular Central Massachusetts entertainment venue swings into what is promising to be a stellar 75th-anniversary season

“The restaurant is open and has been featuring a number of BBQ items on the menu” (Samuel Slater’s offers indoor, patio and beachside seating with dine-in service on the weekend in addition to takeout and delivery; reservations are recommended).
“The Indian Princess will be going back into the water and we’ll be announcing cruises soon!”
Echoing Mr. Klein’s remarks, Ms. Raun Coppla said “the beginning of summer is on the horizon” and with it better times. “We have a lot of big shows planned, 38 Special, Foreigner, Tower of Power, smaller ones to start and larger ones at the end. 
“The restaurant just opened for in-person dining.
“We usually wrap things up at the end of September but this year we are extending our season by two weeks, to Columbus Day, and we will be offering a lot of daytime shows.
“Our campground opened May 1st.”
“We are all into playing it safe but it’s hard as a business not being able to plan ahead,” Ms. Raun Coppla said.
In association with its sponsors—Yuengling, Webster Five Cent Savings Bank, the Telegram & Gazette, The Yankee Xpress/Blackstone Valley Xpress, Blue Chair Day, Place Motor, Northeastern Oil & Propane, Worcester Magazine and Bay Station Audiology—Indian Ranch has packed many of its headline shows into the month of September: Marc Martel, 9/4; Melissa Etheridge, 9/6; CountryFest, 9/11; The Mavericks, 9/12; Los Lobos, 9/18; George Thorogood, 9/19; HairFest, 9/25; Kip Moore, 9/26.
Long known as “the Nashville of the North” for its emphasis on country music, Indian Ranch, which has been in operation on Gore Road in Webster since 1946, now offers a range of music for fans of all ages and persuasions from country to acoustic, blues, roots, rock and pop.
Like other businesspersons, Ms. Raun Coppola has sought financial assistance where it can be obtained.
“We have received some PPE loans and a little grant from Massachusetts and we are working on a Shuttered Venues grant,” she said.
What had looked for so long like a drawn-out period of inactivity at Indian Ranch is suddenly looking much more promising on all fronts.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.

By Rod Lee
There must have been moments over the course of the past year when Suzette Raun Coppola was burdened by serious misgivings about whether a 75th-anniversary season would occur at Indian Ranch.
Evidence of the struggle the business world was facing as COVID-19 wreaked its havoc was all around. Restaurants were limited to takeout-only. Work-from-home became a fixture. Doors to retail stores carried the warning “No Mask, No Entry.” Some staple products were in short supply; and so on.
Indian Ranch suffered the same fate as many other entertainment settings.
Asked during a telephone conversation that took place on May 12 what the past twelve months were like, Ms. Raun Coppola summed them up with one word:
Elaborating on this, she said “we had to lay everyone off the first week the pandemic hit. A lot of my food staff took time off and we didn’t have any seasonal help here in 2020.
“I felt bad for the smaller venues,” she said, even as she regretted on behalf of her own employees the toll the virus was taking: no concerts at “the shed;” no music on the beach; no Indian Princess paddle wheeler in the water; no Samuel Slater’s Restaurant welcoming diners; no activities in the banquet hall.
Today, however, the proverbial silver lining can be seen.
“We are planning on a full season…and I expect it will be the busiest season ever,” Adam Klein of CK Communications Group, which handles public relations for Indian Ranch, said.
“We’ll be doing local bands on the stage in May and June. Capacity limits as of now go to 100% on August 1, and we have a great set of shows booked as part of the Mike’s Hard Lemonade Summer Concert Series.
“The governor has indicated that the August 1 date could move up sooner if the numbers continue to be good, which they have been. As a result, we are extremely optimistic that our July shows will play as scheduled” (these include, tentatively, Chris Janson, Ziggy Marley and Marty Stuart).
“The 2021 season includes shows from Foreigner, Jamey Johnson, Get The Led Out, Melissa Etheridge, Grand Funk Railroad, Chase Rice, Kip Moore, and more.