Summer is for music. Nature is all well and good, but combine it with great music and something special happens. It’s guitars at sunset and horns in the afternoon, blues in the morning and jazz for dinner that really makes the summertime season. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the best outdoor music to be found in Northern Michigan July 8 – 12. So, get out, take it in, and make your summer that much better.

The Bay Side Stage- National Cherry Festival

One of the highlights of Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, this open air stage brings nightly entertainment to festivalgoers. Music starts each night of the festival, July 4-11, at 8 p.m., with headliners taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. As for the bands: there’s enough variety here to satisfy any taste. Rockers can sink their chops into Billy Squier, while the more refined may wish to take in a pops concert by the Northwestern Michigan College community concert band. For the nostalgic: Beatles and Pink Floyd tribute groups. Tickets are a bargain too, ranging from $5 to $10. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Mulebone – Glen Arbor

Coronet, conch shell and country blues all combine to form the fusion that is Mulebone. Come see the inventive blues duo Wednesday, July 8, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Lake Street Studios in Glen Arbor. Enjoy the scenery of the outdoor venue and watch the sun set as Hugh Pool and John Ragusa pluck and bounce their way through their jazz-flavored blues compositions. Tickets are $15. Click here to purchase. Lake Street Studios is at 6023 South Lake St. Glen Arbor. Try before you buy: click here for three free Mulebone tracks for listen or download on Hugh Pool’s website.

The Center Stage Band – Elk Rapids Evenings on River Street

The Center Stage Band is a group of experienced Northern Michigan musicians that will be playing Wednesday, July 8 at the Elk Rapids Evening on River Street. The band would be the first to admit they’re not the youngest group out there, but they bring talented musicianship, perfectionism and a slickness that only comes from years of devotion to their rock and country set. Evenings on River Street is a weekly event in downtown Elk Rapids, every Wednesday night, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., through August 19. Click here for more information, or call the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce at 231-264-8202.

Shout Sister Shout – The Dune Climb Concert

Sunday, July 12 continues the decade-old tradition of the annual free concert at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Climb near Glen Arbor. This year, two homegrown Michigan folk acts, Rachael Davis and Lansing’s Steppin’ In It, collaborate as Shout Sister Shout to bring concertgoers an evening of swinging numbers and blues-touched folk. Good old-fashioned fun, right? As a venue, the Dune Climb can’t be beat, and with great music and a price it’s impossible to complain about, there’s really no reason not to be there. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Click here to listen to Rachael Davis, and here for Steppin’ In It.

Blissfest – Harbor Springs

This is a weekend music festival full to bursting with food, crafts, dance and music of every description. With bluegrass, celtic, rock, Latin, Cajun and more, chances are you will find something that catches your ear July 10 through July 12 at Blissfest. Festival Farm is at 3695 Division Rd. in Harbor Springs. Camping is available if you plan to stay the whole weekend; sites are $20 if reserved. Not comfortable as a weekend-long festival goer? Take a chance, step out and try a one-day pass. Click here for schedule and ticket information.

Quick Links to More Fun in Traverse City!

Photo(s) by photo courtesy of Glen Arbor Art Association