Take advantage of bargain-priced shows

May 7, 2002 2:29 AM

We’ve been noticing a new trend in the casino business lately, and it’s one that budget-conscience locals and frugal tourists all can enjoy. There seems to be an emphasis on free or darn cheap entertainment options available to everyone. We’ll take a quick tour this week and give you some ideas of what’s out there.

Barley’s Casino & Brewing Company, (a partially-owned Stations Casino located on Sunset Road in Henderson) begins a series of free outdoor concerts starting this Friday, and featuring a blues band called, J.D. Simo. In the upcoming weeks, look for the Pat Dalton Gang on May 17, Bonafide on May 24 and The Fab on May 31. The concerts will be held near the outdoor fountain from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call (702) 458-BREW.

The Castaways has free tribute shows coming up the next couple of weekends. Check out the impersonations of Ricky Martin on May 9-11, the Fifth Dimension on May 16 & 17, and Russell Henry’s "Tribute to the Drifters" on May 23-25.

For classic rock lovers, a free outdoor concert will be held on Saturday, May 18, under the canopy of lights on the streets downtown. The Fremont Street Experience brings legendary recording artists, Credence Clearwater Revisited and John Kay & Steppenwolf to the outdoor stages from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Two brand new stages have been set up this year to provide even better sight lines and sound! While downtown, be sure to take a free stroll through Neonopolis, a brand new entertainment complex featuring 14 movie theaters, shopping and a food court. Hours vary, but on weekends they plan to be open until 1 a.m.

Another classic rock festival is called Junefest 10, to be held at Silver Bowl Park on June 1. The stars of this year's annual event include REO Speedwagon, Jethro Tull, Bad Company, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Kansas and the Voices of Rock. Tickets start at $10 and discounts can be found on specially marked store products of Pepsi, Budweiser and Jack Daniels. Check Ticketmaster, or junefest.com for more details.

The Casablanca in Mesquite, (about an hours drive North of Las Vegas on I-15) offers free comedy shows every weekend, (except in the case of alternative special events.) See adult comedian-hypnotist Frank Santos on May 10 & 11 at 8 p.m. Call 1-800-459-PLAY for more information and future free show schedules.

Plan ahead if you want to attend the recently announced Reggae Beach Party coming to the Mandalay Bay Pool Beach on June 22. While not free, it’s cheap enough if you purchase advance tickets for $15. Otherwise you’ll need to pony up 20 bucks at the door. Entertainment will be provided by Reggae band, "EEK-A-Mouse." Sure to be a hot summer event. Call the Mandalay Bay Box Office for reservations/tickets at 702-632-7580.

Finally, another free entertainment attraction to check out is the Showgirls Exhibit near the Samba Theater at The Rio. The exhibit is a tribute to the "Showgirls" late-night show playing there and the free exhibit is open to the public daily from noon to midnight.

If you have little ones, you can get a discount on the Adventure Dome rides at Circus Circus with a Nevada identification.

Until next week...Eat well, play well, stay well!