Summer Nights Concerts at South Park
Big Mouth and the Power Tool to open series
By Angie Landsverk
The Waupaca Community Arts Board will bring three, free outdoor concerts to the city of Waupaca this summer.
The inaugural season of the Summer Nights Concerts Series will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, when Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns performs at South Park’s upper shelter.
The band’s keyboard player is Waupaca resident Matt Buchman.
The second concert will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 20.
Sloppy Joe will perform on the bandstand in downtown Waupaca.
That concert will be in conjuction with the Downtown Waupaca Summer Games event.
The final concert will return to the upper shelter at South Park, with MoJoe & Flipside playing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.
That concert will lead up to the nonprofit arts board’s 10th annual Arts on the Square, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 20, on the city square.
Food, beer and soda will be available at each of the three concerts.
People will not be allowed to carry in alcohol.
There will be some seating available in South Park’s pavilion, but those who attend the two concerts there, as well as the one downtown, are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
The arts board will request donations for the Waupaca Area Food Pantry.
The concerts will be held rain or shine and will end around 9:30 p.m.
“One of the things we’re hoping to do with these concerts is to bring summer residents into town,” said Steve Laedtke, who is the arts board’s music and talent coordinator.
The Summer Nights Concerts series is being organized by the arts board in collaboration with Tony Wagner.
Wagner is known for “Wednesdays with Wags,” which take place at the Wheelhouse Restaurant during the winter.
Donations from businesses and individuals are supporting the Summer Nights Concerts Series, said Laedtke.
He explained how the idea came to be.
“One of the main reasons it sort of started was with expanding Arts on the Square,” he said. “Then we said why not do it (a Wednesday night concert) in June and July also.”
They decided to hold the concerts on Wednesday evenings to pattern the series after Wednesdays with Wags.
“It’s a good lead in to Arts on the Square,” Laedtke said of the final concert in August. “We’re trying to expand events into the whole week.”
The band which will begin the Summer Nights Concerts Series was originally called Big Mouth.
Jay Whitney formed it in 1980 in and around Flint, Michigan.
At that time, the band’s focus was playing an eclectic mix of blues, jazz and original music.
The band flourished for a number of years, playing club dates and festivals throughout Michigan.
It stopped when a few of its members went on the road with other touring bands.
Whitney moved to Door County in 1989 and a year later, formed a new Big Mouth with Pat Judy, Woody Mankowski, and Paul Sowinski.
After reaching a level of success in Door County and Green Bay, the band decided to add a horn section, which was the birth of the Power Tool Horns.
While members of the band have come and gone through the years, the band’s focus today remains true to what it was when it began in 1980.