Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 812   By: Robert E Martin

02nd July, 2015     0

Ahoy, Matey!   Michigan food trucks and custom craft beers will join a bevy of international musicians center-stage for the annual Ballads & Brews, happening Friday – Sunday July 17-19th at Veterans Memorial Park in Bay City.  Presented by Leuter Insurance and designed as a fundraiser supporting the Tall Ship Celebration in 2016, admission is only $5.00 per person, with children 12 & under admitted free.

The musical line-up includes Males de Mer from Belgium and Pod Wiatr from Poland. Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers hail from Nashville, but they will be fresh off a tour of Australia, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.   Michigan’s own Bocca Musica will liven up the crowd and guests will remember the sweet harmonies of Roane from Clio. Additionally, each evening will feature the “Celtic Jam” led by Hoolie from Bay City, where all musicians are invited to the stage in one large, impromptu orchestra of folk music.

BALLADS AND BREWS organizers are pleased to announce the addition of a Food Truck Rally. Confirmed participants include Killer Hibachi, Smokin J’s BBQ, Tamale Rose, Killer Griller and Sweet Joy. The Food Truck Court, sponsored by Chemical Bank, will be located inside the festival grounds so guests will be able to enjoy eclectic food offerings while sipping one of the many craft beers featured at the festival.

Saturday, July 18 will be Pirate Day. A band of pirates from the Brethren of the Great Lakes will be on hand throughout the day and the schooner Appledore IV will lead a Pirate Parade of Boats to Veterans Memorial Park at 9:00 p.m. that evening. Judges will be on hand to award prizes provided by sponsor Independent Bank for the best decorated boats.

Free workshops taking place on Saturday and Sunday will include DGAD Guitar Tuning (or Celtic Tuning), the Bodhran (Irish frame drum), Highland dancing and more. The schooner Appledore IV from Bay City will offer 3-hour “Legends of the Saginaw” sail-away trips as well as BBQ Dinner Sails.

BALLADS AND BREWS is a spin-off of Tall Ship Celebration, the award winning maritime festival that will return to Bay City July 14—17, 2016. All proceeds from BALLADS AND BREWS support the production of Tall Ship Celebration. The event will be open Friday, July 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; Saturday, July 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; and Sunday, July 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

According to Festival organizer Shirley Roberts, the idea for creating Ballads & Brews grew out of the fact that Maritime Music has long been a popular component of the Tall Ship Celebration. “One of our Board members, Jerry Casault, is a musician in Bay City’s own shanty group Hoolie. Jerry is frequently invited to play at European music festivals and was adamant we could host a similar event in Bay City,” she explains.

“While Ballads and Brews is not on the scale of the large European festivals, it is intended to be a placeholder for the Tall Ship Celebration event that only happens every three years. Any funds generated from Ballads and Brews are dedicated to producing this nationally-acclaimed maritime festival.”

Given the international scope of Celtic bands & artists featured, how was the determination made concerning which artists to feature?  “A few musicians contacted us and a few are regulars at a shanty sing-around on Tuesday evening’s at the Stein Haus in Downtown Bay City,” notes Roberts.  “Jerry Casault acts as our talent scout and he keeps his eyes (and ears) open for musicians who he believes will be a good fit for our event and our audience. So far, he’s been right!”

According to Roberts, thus far Tall Ship Celebration has been produced five times since their first event in 2001, with the next event happening July 14-18 in 2016. Average attendance at each of these celebrations is about 75,000 to 100,000 people and people have shown up from 44 states and 22 countries.

Roberts says the most challenging component about pulling a celebration as ambitious as Tall Ships together is “playing conductor to the orchestra that is comprised of about 500 volunteers, in addition to 12 to 15 other regional non-profit organizations, the diverse owners and crew of each visiting tall ship, along with at least 12 different security agencies ranging from the local police departments to the FBI, as well as the many sponsors whose investments makes the event possible.

“We hope Ballads & Brews will keep the Tall Ship Celebration front-of-mind for people that miss the event in the ‘off’ years,” concludes Roberts. “If we are successful in growing it, Ballads & Brews can be a really important way to fund the production of Tall Ship Celebration, which operates on a budget north of $500,000.”

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit or call (989) 895-5193.  Below is the entertainment schedule & Line-Up:

Friday • July 17th: Celtic Jam – 4:00 – 5:00 PM / Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers – 6:00 – 6:00 PM / Roane – 6:00 – 7:00 PM / Pod Wiatr – 7:00 – 8:00 PM / Karrik’s – 8:00 – 9:00 PM / Bocca Musica – 9:00 – 10:00 PM // Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers – 10:00 – 10:45 PM

Saturday • July 18th: Auburn Glenn Highland Dancers – 1:00 – 2:00 PM / Celtic Jam – 200 – 3:00 PM / Pod Wiatr – 3:00 – 4:00 PM / Karrik’s – 4:00 – 5:00 PM / Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers – 5:00 – 6:00 PM / Roane – 6:00 – 7 :00 PM / Pod Wiatr – 7:00 – 8:00 PM / Karrik’s – 8:00 – 9:00 PM / Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers – 9:00 – 10:00 PM / Bocca Musica – 10:00 – 11:00 PM

Sunday • July 19th: Auburn Glenn Highland Dancers – 1:00 – 2:00 PM / Celtic Jam – 200 – 3:00 PM / Pod Wiatr – 3:00 – 4:00 PM / Karrik’s – 4:00 – 5:00 PM / Roane – 5:00 – 6:00 PM / Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers – 6:00 – 7 :00 PM / Pod Wiatr – 7:00 – 8:00 PM / Karrik’s – 8:00 – 9:00 PM / Shanty Sing Around – 9:00 – 10:00 PM





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