Pent-up demand for live music propelled the announcement of a new Friday night summer concert series in Grand Haven to the No. 8 spot in Local Spins’ countdown of 2021’s most-read stories.
EDITOR’S NOTE: No. 8 in Local Spins’ countdown of its most-read stories of the year reflects the pent-up interest in live music after a mostly silent 2020 due to COVID. When Courtyard Concerts announced a new summer series at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, readers paid attention. And as this updated story from June 17 reveals, more concerts already are booked for 2022.
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Boasting a roster of nationally acclaimed singer-songwriters and bands spanning indie-folk, Americana, country, pop and rock, a brand new Grand Haven concert series debuted in July at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium.
The free, 10-show, Friday night series presented by Courtyard Concerts kicked off July 9 with Brooklyn soul/funk/Americana outfit On the Sun. Subsequent concerts starred the likes of the Pat McGee Band, The Contenders, Seth Glier and The Young Fables.
The touring acts with impressive resumes hailed from New York, Virginia, Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Minnesota, with opening sets by many local artists.
Principal organizer Michelle Hanks of Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up and Courtyard Concerts said the original plan was to host 10 free concerts and four ticketed shows at the new waterfront stadium in the summer of 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled plans for these ticketed “family- and budget-friendly” concerts.
On the flip side, the state’s lifting of COVID capacity restrictions in late spring opened the gates for the free summer shows produced by Seven Steps Up, Third Coast Recording Co. and OnCore AV.
“Courtyard Concerts, along with many community leaders wanted to offer something special to our community – a celebration and opportunities to bring people together safely,” Hanks said.
“We received a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. Additional costs are being underwritten through sponsorships and donations.”
The series will resume in 2022, Hanks revealed this week, with several national acts already booked.
“Courtyard Concerts definitely plans to have the free Friday night summer concert series in 2022 and I have it pretty much booked out,” she told Local Spins.
“We have confirmed dates for Mouths of Babes, Brendan James, Kim Richey, The Young Fables, Willy Porter Band, Pete Muller & The Kindred Souls, with other artists and dates waiting on confirmation.”
Opening acts kick things off at 6:15 p.m. on Fridays, with headliners performing from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Attendees bring their own blankets and chairs, with snacks available from vendors. The concerts are alcohol-free events.
The inaugural, first-year lineup covered a lot of musical territory from indie-folk to rock to country to singer-songwriters.
Many of the artists booked for the series have played Seven Steps Up previously.
“The goal for the series (is to present) artists performing original music and who aren’t playing other summer series in West Michigan,” said Hanks, noting she expects the free series to continue “for years to come.”
Organizers hope they’ll also be able to book some high-profile ticketed concerts in 2022 – concerts which made their debut at the stadium in 2019.
Copyright 2021, Spins on Music LLC