Two Petoskey venues boast robust summer series, plus check out other unique performance spaces that make the picturesque region even more of a draw in summer. Get the lineups at Local Spins.
As the music industry seeks its new normal following the interruption and impacts of the pandemic, several northern Michigan venues will host a normal or near-normal slate of performers this summer.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Interlochen Center for the Arts’ announced summer acts include Train, Elvis Costello, the Detroit Symphony and others.
Then there are the ever-popular weekend get-togethers such as Blissfest and Hoxeyville, with favorites like Colin Hay and Valerie June (the former), Marcus King and The Wood Brothers (the latter) and May Erlewine, Lindsay Lou and The Crane Wives (both).
And while you can also hear tons of local and regional performers at various brewpubs, restaurants, wineries and other venues, there are also two establishments on either side of Petoskey that bring in performers from across the country and the musical spectrum.
At Bay Harbor, the tony vacation and resort complex south of town, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts is celebrating its sixth year with a signature show by Chicago at its annual Gala fundraiser. But that sold-out show (join a waitlist for $350 tickets online here) is just the tip of the iceberg, with comedy, magic, lectures and loads of music on tap.
“We’re super thrilled about the season,” says Matthew Kacergis, the center’s executive director. “Our goal is something for everybody. There’s opportunities to laugh, be educated, hear emerging (artists) and living legends at the top of their game.”
As examples, he points to country star Randy Houser (“He’s playing big arena shows”), Michigan’s own The Verve Pipe (“I grew up listening to the Verve Pipe”) and Michael Feinstein, celebrating the Judy Garland centennial (“He’s always a hit, with a brand-new show”). Hubbard Street Dance, Robert Cray, Sam Bush, Michigander and others will be among those performing at the 525-seat auditorium.
He says the mid-summer shows in particular are outstanding. “July is just packed. We’ve got the sold-out gala with Chicago, a musical theater offering (a celebration of the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber), Arturo Sandoval, a unique collaboration (with) Conrad and Caleb (tap dance and piano), and (comic) Brian Regan sells out the concert hall at the Kennedy Center.”
Kacergis says the center draws from across the region and beyond, whether summer or the off-season. A show with comedian Dusty Slay drew people from the Detroit area back in March. “It’s a great place to visit, and see a show,” he says.
BAY VIEW ASSOCIATION’S WIDE-RANGING SHOWS, LAVENDER HILL FARM & MORE
On the other end of town, the pace is a little slower among the Victorian cottages at Bay View.
Originally founded in 1875 by Michigan Methodists as a camp meeting for scientific and intellectual culture and for the promotion of the Christian religion and morality, over the years it became a site for music by its faculty and college music students, Sunday morning worship services, and weekday religion and life lectures featuring nationally known speakers, all open to the public.
Musically, it covers a broad swath, from classical chamber music to jazz, opera, musical theater and popular favorites.
“The fact that we put on 50 public events means that people who come to Petoskey for three or four days can see three or four events at a really great value,” says Bay View Artistic Director Chris Ludwa.
This year, its pop music headliners are Post Modern Jukebox (July 1), Blood, Sweat & Tears (July 21) and Girl Named Tom (July 29), playing the 1374-seat John M. Hall Auditorium.
“It’s mainstream pop and multi-generational,” says Ludwa of the various acts.
Pianist Scott Bradlee introduced the Post Modern Jukebox concept in 2011 with a group of friends remaking popular music in vintage genres such as swing and doo wop. It has grown to a collective of over 70 performers touring internationally, covering music by everyone from Lady Gaga and the Strokes to Wham! and the White Stripes, with guest stars like Dave Koz and Wayne Brady.
Blood, Sweat & Tears kick-started the jazz-rock sound, winning the best album Grammy in 1969 (besting The Beatles) with a horn section, a sound echoed by contemporaries Tower of Power and Chicago. While those bands still boast at least three original members, BS&T has seen its original members come and go, with over 160 performers through the years. It is now overseen by original drummer Bobby Colomby.
Girl Named Tom is a harmony group consisting of siblings Bekah, Joshua, and Caleb Liechty, who won The Voice in 2021, the first trio to do so. Their harmonies captivated all four judges and the audiences, ultimately leading to their victory as they performed music by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Radiohead and Jimmy Webb, among others.
Ludwa says the festival offers everything from spirituals and well-loved chestnuts – think “Spinning Wheel” or reinventions of “Mr. Sandman” or “Heroes” – to new music.
“The Akropolis Reed Quintet did eight world premieres,” says Ludwa of the woodwind chamber group, which hosts a 10-day festival at Bay View.
“Most people are amazed when I tell them I run an eight-week summer music festival.” Oh, and Bay View is the longest continuously operating chamber music festival in the country.
Have we missed anything?
Well, Lavender Hill Farm outside Boyne City hosts a concert series as well. Performers this year will include Jill Jack & The Keynote Sisters (July 28), 1964 the Tribute (Aug. 4-5), Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe (Aug. 8), Kanin Wren’s Taylor Swift Experience (Aug. 11), May Erlewine (Sept. 8) and more. Local artists will also be performing throughout the summer. Get the lineup and tickets here.
Meanwhile, Traverse City’s The National Cherry Festival in early July will welcome Flo Rida, Theory of a Deadman, Three Doors Down and Chicago to its bayside music stage.
More Michigan concerts, shows and festivals here:
The Local Spins Concert Calendar
Free Outdoor Community Concerts
Michigan Music Festivals 2023 Guide
Copyright 2023, Spins on Music LLC