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Performances outside add to summer fun

August 14, 2010
By RENEE PRUSI Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE -A cold beverage, a warm breeze and some great live music: That's a formula for summer fun on Thursday nights locally.

Like at the Portside Inn on Washington Street in Marquette.

"It has been a Portside tradition for 18 years, music on the deck on Thursdays in the summer," said Rachel Fay, Portside owner. "It's something different, something fun, that started years ago.

Article Photos

The band Circle of Willis performs Aug. 5 at the Portside Inn in Marquette. The Portside has been hosting summer Thursday night music performances for 18 years. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)

"We've kept it going because there's such a demand for it," she said. "There's nowhere else (in Marquette) that has the outdoor music with the restaurant/bar atmosphere. We get a great crowd on Thursdays.

"We book local musicians," Fay said. "We want to support the local music scene. And we have the music at a nice, early time, from 7 to 10 p.m., because of noise considerations. That's great for most people. Everyone gets out early and they can get to work on Friday.

"It kicks off the weekend well."

Fact Box

Thursday nights:

Upcoming Thursday night outdoor music performances:

- CHAPPERS, Negaunee

Aug. 19: Hozz, 7 p.m. on the patio

Aug. 26: Dave & Derrell, 7 p.m. on the patio

Sept. 2: George Knight (of Bordertown) 7 p.m. on the patio

Sept. 9: Hozz, 7 p.m. on the patio

- PORTSIDE INN, Marquette

Aug. 19: Slamtones, 7 p.m. on the patio

Aug. 26: Amnesians, 7 p.m. on the patio

- OLD ISH PARK, Ishpeming

Aug. 19: V.I.P. 7 p.m.

Aug. 26: Wednesday Night Music Club, 7 p.m.

In Ishpeming, music lovers gather each Thursday in Old Ish Park to hear a variety of bands.

Lucille Heliste and Pat Hamel both were sitting in lawn chairs on the stoop of a local business waiting for the music to start on a recent Thursday in the shadow of the Old Ish statue.

"They've all been nice this summer," Hamel said of the Thursday night music performers.

"We like to sit here and listen," Heliste said. "We are out of the sun and wind and get to hear every note. I especially like Black Pearl."

Nancy Mankee arrived to join the other listeners.

"They have had some great music here," she said. "Shotgun Kelli was wonderful. They were just the greatest when they were here."

Shotgun Kelli and State 51, a local country rock band, played as part of the series in July.

Kurt Gronvall, who books the Thursday night performances in Ishpeming, said the event has experienced its greatest popularity this summer.

"This is the fifth year for the series and we had more people at our first concert of the year than at all of the concerts last year combined," he said. "Every year, the crowds get larger. This year, it has been a raving success."

Gronvall said Thursday was selected as the night for the concerts for several reasons.

"Well, Monday and Tuesday are too early and Friday and Saturday are too busy for most people," he said. "Thursday's just right. People like to go out, at least for awhile, on Thursdays."

Next year, the Old Ish Concert Series may feature added activity, he said.

"We would like to add more to the atmosphere," he said. "We are looking at things to do, like pony rides or hot dog sales as a benefit."

Gronvall said the bands selected to play at the Ishpeming series were chosen for a variety of reasons.

"We like to mix up the styles of music as much as possible," he said. "And the bands that are first on our list are the ones who give back to the community. Anybody who does benefits during the year will be at the top of our list. And this year, not a one didn't meet that criteria.

"They are all good people."

At Chapper's Pub in Negaunee, an outdoor stage was added in the corner of the patio so music could be part of the summer fun there.

"It's something we've always wanted to do," said owner Kathy Tresedder. "We have a nice big patio and it's great to be able to use it like this.

"One night a week is just right for Negaunee. Thursday's a great night, especially in the summer," she said. "On weekends, people tend to go out to camp or are busy with other things like weddings. So this has worked out well."

So well, in fact, Chapper's is going to keep the music going into September outside, as weather permits, and beyond that inside the establishment.

"In September, we will have it outside when we can with a bonfire going," she said. "We will add some lights and things will just glow."

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is



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