Live music to play bigger role in Escanaba this summer

Courtesy photo A band performs at Escanaba’s Marina Fest.

ESCANABA — Plans are being made to grow established city festivals in Escanaba by adding more music. Organizers say it will greatly enhance the community.

“Music adds vibrancy to a community,” said Lorne Watson, a member of the Escanaba Recreation Advisory Board who established an Escanaba Live Music Series (ELMS) committee to improve several city music festivals. “We are looking to improve music in Escanaba as a way to grow our community.”

The committee, which includes the city’s Recreation Department and the Escanaba Downtown Development Authority, is making plans for Marina Fest, Rock the Dock, Escanaba Labor Day Celebration with the Delta County Trades and Labor Council and Lake Shore Live established by the late Nick Nolde. It also includes a revamped Summer of Melodies music series.

“Music is something that can really bring a community together. Something fun like a polka, a nice listening band, the city band, things like that. It’s a gathering for people,” said Sue Parker, chair of the Escanaba DDA.

The DDA is funding the additional music and seeking sponsors for the events. The city Recreation Department is working with vendors and providing facilities and event activities.

The focus this year is on local bands. ELMS committee member Kevin Chown says the goal is to build up the local music talent.

“That is the theme for me personally, is make this the year of making the most of what we have to work with, which is a lot of talent,” he said. “There’s an incredible amount of musicians here for the size of the city.”

The band line ups will be announced in May. The music festivals include Marina Fest on July 27 at the Escanaba Harbor, Rock the Dock on Aug. 3 and Escanaba Labor Day Celebration on Sept. 2 at the Escanaba Municipal Dock and Lake Shore Live on Sept. 14 at the Escanaba Marketplace. Saturday events at the Karas Bandshell will be held July 6, 13 and August 10.

“I’m excited about the new music scene this year. Hopefully, we see more people coming out for it and enjoy it like I do,” said Mike Canull, a local musician and emcee for Rock the Dock and Labor Day.

The increased music is on top of other musical events planned throughout the summer.

The Bonifas Arts Center sponsors the Music Mondays, the Escanaba Public Library has the Live on the Lawn music series and the Escanaba DDA sponsors Lunch on Ludington at the Escanaba Marketplace with Blues for a Cause. The DDA also sponsors the Escanaba Beat street concerts each month and Radio Results Network is holding its annual block party on July 26.

The DDA is also planning a polka concert July 5 at the Karas Bandshell and other summer music on Ludington Street.

And, the Escanaba City Band is celebrating its 100th anniversary with Wednesday concerts in Ludington Park. A big event will be held at its July 24 concert.

“There is going to be an insane amount of music in this town,” Chown said.


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