After a pandemic-driven hiatus of nearly three years, the popular Fennville restaurant returns with Kate Pillsbury, Kyle Rasche and Kait Rose playing Sunday. Details and schedule at Local Spins.
Slowly but surely, some of West Michigan’s most intimate and most beloved live music venues are making their COVID comeback.
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Less than a month after Rockford Brewing announced the limited return of regular concerts to its stage for the first time since early 2022, Fennville’s Salt of the Earth has lined up monthly shows at a 60-capacity venue that musician Max Lockwood has called “an amazing atmosphere for sharing songs” amid a “generous audience of true music appreciators.”
Salt of the Earth kicks off its revived monthly series at 6 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 20) with West Michigan singer-songwriters Kate Pillsbury (of The Crane Wives), Kyle Rasche (of Chain of Lakes) and Kait Rose. Tickets are $20 and available online here. Six more shows are scheduled through late April.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mark Schrock, a veteran musician and co-owner of Salt of the Earth.
“Like every other restaurant and venue in the hospitality business, the pandemic completely upended our operations. We have gone through nearly 100-percent turnover of our restaurant staff since March 2020. Presenting a coordinated, crisp dinner and entertainment experience for our guests requires a lot of teamwork and we wanted to be sure we could deliver before going live again.”
After such a lengthy hiatus, Schrock conceded that employees and patrons alike are eager to experience live music again in what’s been described as an acoustically pristine environment.
“We have a great staff front and back right now, and they’re excited to see what everyone’s been asking about,” Schrock said. “Our regulars are stoked.”
‘DIPPING OUR TOES CAREFULLY’ WHEN IT COMES TO LIVE MUSIC
The Steel City Rovers from Hamilton, Ontario, were the last musicians to grace Salt of the Earth’s stage back in early March 2020. And while the restaurant once hosted performers weekly, organizers are testing the waters before scheduling more shows.
“We’re dipping our toes in carefully. If we get a great response and things go smoothly, we may add dates,” said Schrock, though he stressed that other issues could play a role in that decision.
“The economy could be a factor. While we do our best to keep our shows affordable, we’re sensitive to inflationary pressures for sure.”
For many devoted patrons, the “relaxed and intimate” vibe of the Fennville venue, along with its food and beverage offerings, have created a singular milieu for live music, Schrock said.
“Guests are seated at tables that they have for the evening, We’re not a listening room in the classic sense, as we serve dinner and drinks during the show and there’s bit of table conversation,” he said.
“But generally, guests pay close attention and definitely get into the music. It’s unique.”
Salt of the Earth and Rockford Brewing are just the latest venues to embrace live music again. View more in the Local Spins Concert Calendar and stay tuned for an announcement on the return of Local Spins Wednesdays shows at SpeakEZ Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids come early 2023.
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