The sounds live music are beginning to return to area communities such as Bridgman, New Buffalo and Three Oaks this summer.

Music in the Park kicked off its 2020 season with a Saturday, June 20, performance in Three Oaks’ Dewey Cannon Park by Dave Herrero.

Keith Scott played live outside at Dooley’s Lakehouse Pub in New Buffalo that same evening, using the the foundation of what will soon be a new outside bar as his stage.

Just down the road at Ghost Isle Brewery in New Buffalo, Duke Tumatoe and The Power Trio played a Saturday night “indoor-outdoor” concert.

A poster at the venue promoted an upcoming performance by Audios Pantalones beginning at 8 p.m. on July 4. The Ghost Isle Brewery Facebook page also lists an Aug. 15 Deliliah DeWylde show.

And on Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21) Generation Gap kicked off the 2020 Weko Beach Summer Concert season in Bridgman with a show performed by a band that includes a dad and two of his sons.

While introducing Generation Gap to the Weko Beach audience on Father’s Day evening, Mark Smith of New Buffalo said one of the great joys of his life is playing music with sons (Jason on lead guitar, Nathan on keyboards or guitar, and every Smith doing some singing - Mark also plays guitar).

Also in the band are drummer Jim McClure of LaPorte and bass player Brandon Dinges of Baroda.

Mark said Generation Gap was originally scheduled to play at Weko Beach on June 21, “but we weren’t going to be kicking off the season.”

Although Generation Gap has performed at local venues such as the St. Mary of the Lake Family Festival and the New Buffalo Township Wednesday Night in the Park series for many years (both cancelled for 2020), it’s their first year performing at Weko Beach.

“We know that it’s been a great venue for other bands and we’re just happy to be here,” he said.

Smith said every other show Generation Gap had lined up before the pandemic has been canceled.

“We hope the virus stays under control and some of the other venues will re-evaluate,” he added.

The Weko Beach summer concert season is scheduled to continue with (7 p.m. start times and free admission): July 12 - Red Deluxe; July 26 - Saturday June Band; Aug. 9 - Matt Gabriel; Aug. 23 - Kristen Kuiper; Sept. 6 - The Edgar Willbury Experience.

“This is my first gig in three months everybody … I gotta knock the dust of somehow, right?” Herrero said before beginning his June 20 Music in the Park performance in the Dewey Cannon Park gazebo. “I know we’ve all been going through a lot, so let’s have a little fun, all right?”

Originally from Tampa, Florida (now a resident of Chicago having honed his guitar, singing and songwriting skills in Texas), Herrero he has toured Europe several times, started a blues in schools program, and shared the stage with many of his heroes. He teamed up with Anne Harris in Three Oaks for a 2019 Music in the Park show.

Harbor Arts President Dave Knoebber thanked the large crowd scattered throughout the spacious park for “spreading out, wearing your masks.”

Calling Dewey Cannon Park Harbor Country’s version of Ravinia on this side of the lake “only you don’t have to pay for parking,” Knoebber noted “instead of six feet you’re 20 feet apart from everybody except your group or your families.”

Knoebber said Music in the Park has been going on for more than 20 years (shows take place at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays in Dewey Cannon Park).

“I know all of you love it because I see some of the same faces coming back year after year,” he said.

The Three Oaks Music in the Park scheduled follows: — June 27 - The Bergamot (90 minutes); July 4 - Andrew Fisher (90 minutes); July 11 - Cielita Lindo (90 minutes); July 18 - School of American Music; July 25 - Modern Vultures; August 1 - Dehurricane duo; August 8 - act to be announced; August 15 - David Lahm and Steve and Mary E; August 22 - Henhouse Prowlers; August 29 - Stealing the Farm;  September 5 - The Newports.

The Poetry Board of the Village of Three Oaks, Michigan and Harbor Arts have announced that Ayla Batton of Three Oaks is the new Poet Laureate and a special Young Poet Award is going to Julianne Prangley of Grand Beach. The awards will be presented and poets will read their winning entries at Music in the Park on Saturday, July 4 (6:30 p.m.)

Knoebber gave much of the credit for the 2020 lineup to David Fink’s “work, and I mean a lot of work, in developing 16 programs for us for Music in the Park.”

Knoebber said anyone seeking info on the latest schedule can go to harborarts.com to see the most up-to-date listing of all the programs (the current schedule is at the end of this article).

“It’s great to be out here — this is the best place around,” Scott said to those filling all of the tables in the Dooley’s Lakehouse Pub outdoor dining area on June 20.

Colleen Dooley said the Lake House Pub plans to offer live music outside on Friday and Saturday evenings (weather dependent).

“This is our second Saturday in a row and it’s been great, we love the live music,” she said, noting that the new outdoor bar is expected to be open on July 3.

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