The Summer Sessions Concert Series. Oh, the YEAR of fun we had with that until the world got slammed with a shut down order. Wait. The Summer Sessions Concert Series? The YEAR of fun? Feeling like you're missing something? Trust me, you're not the only one missing something. Let's rewind a minute.
It was the Summer before it all went quiet. The owners of Seven Steps up in Spring Lake had taken on the massive endeavor of bringing to life the stunning new stadium along the channel in Grand Haven called the Lynne Sherwood Stadium. Not that bringing it to life wasn't doable by many others, but Gary and Michelle Hanks have a deep passion for bringing music to all of us and they do it on a number of levels all the way up to and including big name, national headliners on stage at the gorgeous and intimate stadium in Grand Haven. Their home base, Seven Steps Up was so far far out in front of the idea of a "listening room" for a musical experience, some scratched their heads as to it working. As they proved anyone who doubted that idea wrong, they began to book some acts for the Farmers Market in Grand Haven, then they extended things into some outdoor shows focusing on an entertainment experience for the entire family and when the stadium was complete...all of their talents and connections peaked and the fist season of the Summer Sessions got underway. It was an ambitious beginning. Los Lonely Boys, Pure Prairie League, Firefall, Poco delighted the fans and then, as quick as it got going, it got stopping. Crowds were no longer a thing.
Amplify that by 3. You've got a club. You've got an outdoor community show thing going on...you even have the acts booked for the 2020 season and it all dries up. Yes, you're on the beach and as the entire mess is unfolding, the urgency to make sure that live entertainment funding is somehow covered in the recovery act isn't a front burner issue. Imagine? You've got everything you need except a way to run it all, and even the staff you've built up has to go because they need to find what they can to get by. All of the hopes and dreams sure seemed distant, but patience prevailed and finally some help came and while returning to "normal" wasn't instant for Gary and Michelle, the gears slowly began to turn and with the onset of Summer....here come the concerts again!
It begins on June 20th with Big Head Todd and the Monsters and 10,000 Maniacs with Special Guest Michael Arlen Bont. July 7th Phil Vassar and Jamie O'Neil are going to country up the place a little. On to July 14th for all the 90's rock fans with the Spin Doctors and Sister Hazel and wrapping up the series on John Waite and Ambrosia! One great thing about the shows too, all priced REALLY affordably and WAY under what other venues that are close to this size and feature acts like this. The atmosphere too, it's second to none. The river, the hill, the breeze and the over all ambiance are breathtaking and with only one year to get the event established before it all came crashing down...well, getting it back up and moving is a big priority for all of us, especially those who've known Gary and Michelle since before the doors that began it all even opened. CLICK HERE to get tickets to one or all of the shows!
We met up at Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake. It's from there that the Non Profit Courtyard Concerts was formed and this show series was born. It's a great conversation to not only get the news about this seasons concerts, but the road it took to get there. The Hanks' are the kind of people who are dug in and don't give up. These last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride for sure, take a listen.
15 minutes south to a GREAT Summer of national headliners and truly a remarkable stadium. If you are wrapping up reading this, scratching your head and thinking "Why didn't I hear of that before", you're excused. What could have been a one and done at bat for an upstart of a concert series might have had to wait a couple years to pick up and get going, but here it is! It's priced right, the outdoor setting is like heaven and the chance to enjoy the fun is back. Champions. For the dark hours and sleepless nights spent by Gary and Michelle Hanks, it's clearing up quick and in just under a month...it all gets going again! It's really been an honor to be part of the Summer Sessions as well as the Seven Steps Up story from before it even began. We'll see you at the shows in Grand Haven! Tickets? Click on the logo below!