The lakeside town’s popular Thursday-only Street Musique is a weekly dance party, featuring live music on street corners, dancing on the sidewalks, and late night shopping fun.
Mary Catherine Hannah has been cochair of Street Musique for the past three years, but the event actually started about ten years ago with the leadership of Sheryl McCleary (of Tom’s Mom’s Cookies) and the support of the Blissfest organization.
“Street Musique was first about bringing a unique arts experience to Harbor Springs, a way to foster community talent, and to give our local residents and tourists a wonderful event to enjoy in the summer,” Hannah said.
The event was also aimed at helping downtown retailers and restaurants by giving them a reason to expand the hours of their business, keeping folks downtown during the evenings.
While there are many concert series in Northern Michigan in the summer months, Street Musique is unique in part because it’s always free.
“You just walk downtown and enjoy,” Hannah said.
Originally the focus was on acoustic music and local musicians, but the group’s relationship with Blissfest has opened the event up to new sounds, Hannah said.
“It has allowed us to host some really interesting and fantastic groups we would not have been able to otherwise,” she said.
The musicians are selected in a variety of ways.
“We have established favorites that play from year to year; new groups referred to us; and local groups looking for more exposure,” she said. “And we cross-book a couple of groups who are also performing at Blissfest.”
Regional favorites The Galactic Sherpas will open the first Street Musique of the 2014 season on June 26, and a couple of bands new to the event – The Stout Hearted String Band and Fauxgrass – will both be playing on July 10.
Vintage guitarist Jon Archambault, folk singer Kirby, and singer-songwriter Melissa Welke are also scheduled. Duos are currently “hot,” according to Hannah, so Street Musique will present several, including Younce Guitar Duo and Wyatt and Shari Knapp.
As Street Musique grows, so does the space it will need. The event has already expanded into new space at the waterfront, and is adding additional performance locations.
There’s also a second version of Street Musique called Music at the Market! on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9am-1pm, at the Harbor Springs Farmers Market on Main Street.
“We love to watch the ways in which Street Musique has encouraged community gathering, and we are always on the lookout for new ways to grow and improve the event,” Hannah said. “During Street Musique, we all get to enjoy Northern Michigan at its finest.”
For the full 2014 Street Musique schedule, visit streetmusique.com their page on Facebook.