When they staged their first summer concert series known as Friday Night Live 18-years ago, the organization now known as Positive Results in Downtown Saginaw had no idea that the growth and significance of their festival would mirror and inspire the growth, resurgence, and renaissance that is happening today in Downtown Saginaw. But now as the cusp of their 2016 outdoor concert season unfolds, the organization formerly known as PRIDE are celebrating their 41st anniversary as a fulcrum for delivering positive results with a stellar line-up of entertainment...and more of it!
As an organization the vision that began back in 1975 through the joint efforts of the downtown Saginaw business community, the Junior League and the City of Saginaw began with a core group of volunteers concerned with the future of Downtown Saginaw. Setting goals centered upon attracting new business to the downtown district, encouraging and supporting the existing business & professional community, and beautifying the downtown environment, the organization also strives to create a positive and constructive image of the Downtown area, while unifying and coordinating support within the efforts of numerous organizations all with an eye towards promoting and stimulating ongoing activities that are attractive to people and businesses.
As Saginaw Future came into being PRIDE shifted their focus from business retention and development to a special events focus designed to showcase the wonders of downtown Saginaw with such events as the Annual Christmas Parade, The Ethnic Festival, Holidays in the Heart of the City, the Memorial Day Parade, Harvest Days in Downtown Saginaw, The Ice Blast (in conjunctions with The Saginaw Spirit, The Outhouse Races – which represents the group’s newest endeavor – and of course their signature event, Friday Night Live.
As one of the pioneering regional summer concert festival series, for six-consecutive weekends they merge commerce, culture and community together with the realization of possibilities in a series of weekly ‘Theme Concerts’ that are held in Morley Plaza on Washington Ave. (M13) in Downtown Saginaw. All concerts begin at 5:30 PM and run until 9:00 PM and in addition to free entertainment, food vendors, children’s games, and adult refreshments are available.
“I think we’re bringing the talent up a notch this year and the musical acts and bands that we are featuring are incredibly strong,” reflects President Linda McGee. “We’re very excited to have Team One Credit Union and Covenant Health Care both on-board as our title sponsors this year and we are on the cusp of big things for Downtown Saginaw.”
“We’re also evolving the music schedule and adding more entertainment into the mix,” adds long-time association member Dr. Jack Nash. “For example, on Country Night we’ll be featuring three groups, so instead of having two bands perform 90-minute sets, they’ll be doing 45-70 minute sets.”
“Plus, this year for Country Night on July 22nd we’ll be partnering with the YMCA and the V.A. Hospital to salute our veterans by making this Veterans Night, so we can afford them a chance to get together and honor them in this festive setting,” adds Jack.
With the assistance of Barb Sheltraw at WKCQ, Friday Night Live has always been on the cutting edge of featuring musical talent that is nationally bound. As Linda astutely notes: “Two years ago we featured Chris Stapleton and in prior years we’ve featured artists such as Keith Urban.” Over the years they’ve also featured artists such as Rascal Flatts, The Glenn Miller Orchestra.
The success and appeal of Friday Night Live demonstrates how contemporary challenges can be overcome whenever ideas are advanced that appeal to the constructive investment of time, talent, and resources within a community, which in turn replaces negative elements with positive pro-active approaches that shine a light of achievement upon what is attainable.
Here’s a rundown on the top-notch entertainment that you can expect at PRIDE’s 18th Annual Friday Night Live Concert Series. For more information visit their website at www.prideinsaginaw.com or phone 989-753-9168.
July 15 • Rockin’ on the Riverfront featuring The Rock Show with openers Honesty & the Liars. Featuring lead vocalist & keyboardist Tommy K, lead guitarist & vocalist Michael Hawkes, drummer/vocalist Chris Bartnikowski and bassist Levi Goodwin, THE ROCK SHOW has received national acclaim for their spot-on 70’s & 80’s laden set-lists; and so a remarkable tribute to the classic rock band, Journey. Openers Honesty & the Liars feature the incredible vocals of Honesty Elliott, backed by seasoned pros Michael Robertson, Bill Silverthorn and Ben Brown.
July 22 • Country Night with Jordan Rager with openers Laurie Middlebrook and Cornpone. Rager hails from Georgia and performed in local bars since the age of 15. Mentored by Barry Williams, who is Jason Aldean’s father, he gained popularity by singing popular cover songs and amassed more than 3.7 million viewers on YouTube. One of the viewers discovering his videos was Justin Moore, who chose him to perform on his ‘Beaten Bath’ Tour. He was signed to Broken Bow Records in 2014. The Laurie Middlebrook Band and Cornpone are equally accomplished regional artists, having released numerous recordings and garnered strong and dedicated fan bases.
July 29 • Latin Night with Los Garcia Brothers with openers Illusion. The Los Garcia Brothers are a dynamic and lively Latin band out of Texas, with a focus on Conjunto styles of music. They have numerous videos on youtube and are popular exponents of this particular style of music.
August 5 • Totally 80’s Night with Jedi Mind Trip and Avenue 5. Under the leadership of group founder Danny Ardouin, Jedi Mind Trip has set the gold standard when it comes to performing a wide range of crowd-pleasing classic rock ‘n roll guaranteed to pull fans to the dance floor. Similarly, Avenue 5, under the leadership of vocalist/keyboardist Noel Howland has also garnered broad acclaim for their tightly crafted R&B ‘classics’ oriented set-lists.
August 12 • Classic Rock Night with Da Blooze Brothers – A Tribute to Jake & Elwood with openers The Barbarossa Brothers. The Canadian based ‘Da Blooze Brothers’ truly channel the spirit of this iconic duo and need to be seen to be believed. Openers The Barbarossa Brothers feature the talents of Ryan Fitzgerald, Loren Kranz and Drew Pentkowski and perform a unique brand of Michigan-bred bayou folk that is a unique blend of harmony-laden Americana and folk-rock.
August 19 • Motown Night with Horizon and Chris Canas Blues Group. A group of seven dynamic musicians who reach for the sky every time they hit the stage, HORIZON features an exceptional four-piece rhythm section, two incredible horn players (trumpet & saxophone), and a female vocalist who always delivers a "show stopping" performance. Each member of the rhythm section is featured either on lead vocals, or background harmonies.