Evart Summer Concert Series begins June 15

EVART — It wasn't too long ago Michigan native Matt Giraud performed as a finalist on "American Idol."

Giraud, a season eight, top-five finalist, will hit the stage in Evart on Thursday, June 15, to kick off the 24th annual Evart Summer Concert Series, hosted by the Evart Downtown Development Authority.

Beginning with Giraud, DDA Director Al Weinberg said this year's concert series is filled with performers who will span generations and reach music lovers of all ages.

"I'm super excited about this year's lineup," he said. "Starting with Matt Giraud of 'American Idol' fame, he was on 'The Tonight Show' and 'Ellen' and a myriad of other shows. He's going to open up on the new stage and it'll be a great thing."

The eight free concerts are open to the public and take place at 7 p.m. at the Depot. The series runs through September.

"This isn't your ma and pa's concert series," he said. "We've got some great acts coming this summer. We have a number of tribute bands, from The Beatles, Journey, Carole King and James Taylor, as well as the music of Woodstock. There also will be country music and big band music — pretty much something for everyone."

Weinberg said the DDA promotes the concert series throughout the state, having rack cards located at Michigan Welcome Centers and rest areas along interstates, letting travelers know about the concert series.

"I don't expect folks who are traveling up to Mackinac to stop in Evart because of one concert," he said. "But, I think a lot of people who vacation in this area would want to know about the concerts we have."

Weinberg said the concert series regularly draws residents from the surrounding area, with people arriving from Cadillac, Big Rapids, Clare and Harrison. He would like to see about 300 attend each concert.

"When we draw people to this area with something like the concert series, it has a fairly decent economic impact," he said. "It may not be that night, but it does have an impact on the community, and it's pretty significant."

Weinberg said visitors may stop for a bite to eat, grab ice cream or even fill up their gas tanks and they get to see what Evart has to offer.

"They may see a new bookstore and think they should come back," he said. "They may want to stop at the yarn shop or at a restaurant. When people make purchases, it puts money into other people's pockets so they can spend money locally. It also keeps people employed.

"Along with that impact, we're also adding to the quality of life for the residents here and the surrounding community."

Weinberg said the concert series would not be possible without grants from the Osceola County Community Foundation and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

"We have other donations from surrounding businesses and organizations, as well as private citizens," he said.

Full concert schedules can be found evart.org or the DDA's Facebook page. In case of rain, the performances will take place inside of Evart High School, located at 6221 95th Ave.

The schedule is as follows:

  • June 15 — Matt Giraud, a pop top 5 artist of "American Idol" season 8
  • June 24 — Swing Kings, big band
  • July 1 — You've Got A Friend, the music of James Taylor and Carole King
  • July 22 — Shout, a fabulous tribute of the Fab 4
  • Aug. 5 — Magic Bus!, the music of Woodstock
  • Aug. 12 — Rich Eddy's Rockin Oldies, '50s and '60s music
  • Aug. 19 — RockShow, '80s music and Journey tribute
  • Sept. 2 — Kari Lynch, country pop