March 3, 2024

Historic Resort. Humongous Concert Venue.

Lake Leelanau’s Fountain Point Resort’s summer series brings in a long list of acts
By Ross Boissoneau | June 9, 2018

It’s a safe bet that when Lydia Morrison of Cincinnati built Fountain Point Resort in 1889, she had no intention of it becoming a concert venue. But fast-forward a century and a quarter, and the quaint, quiet resort on the south shore of Lake Leelanau not only offers cottages and a historic hotel. It is once again hosting a series of shows bringing blues, jazz, pop, and Americana to the area.

In fact, Morrison would be stunned at the size of the crowds, though the grounds offer plenty of room for guests and concert-goers — up to about 1,000, said Maria Ulrich, who coordinates the series.

That doesn’t mean the resort intends to book artists who can attract crowds that size any time soon. While Ulrich said she would love to have a James Taylor, the cost for such a headliner would place such a financial burden on the resort that any problem with the show or the weather could bring it all to a crashing halt. “We are looking at bigger acts, but we don’t want to go too big too fast,” she said. “We want it to be sustainable.”

Ulrich sees part of the mission for the resort as a platform for promising artists — even when they start becoming a big thing. “It’s important to offer up-and-coming artists an opportunity, like the Accidentals were,” she said. The Accidentals first played at Fountain Point Resort in 2015 and have since become fixtures on the schedule. Ulrich estimated the band drew some 600 people last year when the series kicked off. “It’s kind of a home base (for them),” she said.

Those high on Ulrich’s list that are making their debuts this year include i.am.james, a Nashville artist she saw previously at Leland High School. She described i.am.james as a singer/songwriter with a pop sensibility, while James’s own description includes references to electronic pop-funk music such as Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, and Michael Jackson. Another is Earth Radio from Grand Rapids, whose r&b/soul Ulrich said “makes you want to dance.”

Among the usual suspects, Ulrich also touted May Erlewine (“It’s such a perfect setting for her”) and the Appleseed Collective, of whom she said, “They put on such a good show and are such professional musicians, but they keep it light.” One act she would like to book again is James McMurtry, who opened the series when it first started in 2013. The son of acclaimed novelist Larry McMurtry has since become a fixture on the alt-country/Americana scene.

Tickets for individual shows run $10­–$25, with kids ages 15 and under $5. Those who intend to make a habit of it might find season passes a better option. Individual passes are $95, and household season tickets are $190; they allow entry to all shows for two adults and any kids under 15. They are fully transferable. 

Shows take place Thursday and Sunday at 7:30pm. For tickets and more information, go to fountainpointmusic.com.

The schedule:

The Accidentals
Sunday, June 17

Hot ’n Bothered
Thursday, June 21

The Barbarossa Brothers
Sunday, June 24

Mark Lavengood
Thursday, July 28

The Appleseed Collective
Sunday, July 1

Cold Tone Harvest
Thursday, July 5

Benjaman James
Sunday, July 8

Mulebone
Thursday, July 12

Abigail Stauffer and Dave Haughey
Sunday, July 15

The Fitzgeralds
Thursday, July 19

May Erlewine
Sunday, July 22

i.am.james
Thursday, July 26

Earth Radio
Sunday, July 29

The Ragbirds
Thursday, Aug. 2

The North Carolines
Sunday, Aug. 5

The Drew Hale Band
Thursday, Aug. 9

Olivia Mainville
Sunday, Aug. 12

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