The brand-new Traverse City Summer Concert Series is bringing a trio of retro chart-toppers into town to amp up your summer madness.
For its first run, the TCSCS bands lean more toward the rock side of the ‘80s. There’s a headliner each of the three nights: Poison’s Bret Michaels in June, The Guess Who in July, and Eddie Money in August.
The opening acts – including Starship, Night Ranger, The Spragues, local Journey tribute band The Journey, and Detroit retro dance party cover band Mega ‘80s – are big draws in their own right.
The bands are all playing downstate, making the quick trip north to fill in additional dates.
“Good routing is important, because they like short drives between shows,” said festival co-organizer Jim Harvey, who launched the series with his wife Linda.
Although the bands are from the 80’s, Jim Harvey said if this year goes well, they will start booking others for next summer.
“We can bring in any band that we want,” he said.
While the Harveys are optimistic about the new concert series’ potential, the concerts almost didn’t happen at all, due to new date restrictions at the Open Space in downtown Traverse City.
After dates at the Open Space became unavailable, the Harveys ended up booking the concerts at Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds, a venue that can fit 10,000 people.
“They are working very hard for us, and we hope to keep this relationship going,” Jim Harvey said. “We don’t have space up here like Ford Field, which can accommodate 46,000 people, where many acts get half a million or more per concert.”
To keep the ticket prices low, the TCSCS had to choose from a short list of bands.
“But if people are willing to pay more for a concert, we can get any act we want,” he said. “Eventually, we would love to see a three-day festival with 25-plus bands.”
DON’T BE A SPAZ
The Harveys say they don’t want to compete with other local music fests. Indeed, they scheduled their event so that it doesn’t coincide with other popular music events, saying that there’s room for all.
“We have some good musicians coming to the area via Interlochen, the Cherry Festival, and Sam Porter [Porterhouse Productions,]” Jim Harvey said. “But I think there is a need for more to do in Traverse City, which is one of the reasons we planned our concerts on Thursday nights, and not when anything else was really going on.”
The main goal? To put together a fun, festival-style concert series where everyone could enjoy great music at a reasonable price.
“Something for everyone,” he said.
The Traverse City Summer Concert series kicks off on June 26 with Bret Michaels. General admission starts at $25; there is also VIP and Super VIP seating available. For a full schedule and more, visit tcconcertseries.com.