The skies were blue and the sun was shining down as Algonquin Theatre Manager Matt Huddlestone announced the lineup for this year’s Concerts on the Dock series, featuring a number of local favourites along with a few new faces throughout July and August.
Huddlestone made the announcement at a press conference at the Town Docks on the afternoon of June 12. The series presented by the Algonquin Theatre offers concerts at the Town Docks every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. throughout July and August. This year’s lineup starts with Nicole Lisa Craig opening the Concerts on the Dock series on July 3 and features local favourites like Northern Lights Steel Drum Orchestra, which will include upwards of 30 performers and is expected to draw over 500 people. The concerts are free, but donations are accepted with all proceeds going to the performers. The event is weather dependent each week, but Huddlestone warns the public to not let the weather fool them because sometimes rain at 6:30 can turn into blue skies by 7 o’clock.
“We have been so lucky the last three years,” Huddlestone said. “I’ve only canceled one in three years from the weather, so it’s a must to come out and the diversity of this year’s acts are absolutely incredible.”
Huddlestone encourages locals to bring a loonie or a toonie, some friends and a blanket to the shows throughout the summer. There are a number of seats available at and around the docks, but some attendees also come by way of their boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Some people even fly their float planes in from Lake Rosseau and Muskoka Bay specifically for the concerts. Since the tradition of Concerts on the Dock started over ten years ago, hundreds of acts have come forward looking for a chance to captivate audiences overlooking the Muskoka River.
“Once again this year we had over 200, 250 people that requested to play Concerts on the Dock which is absolutely phenomenal,” Huddlestone said. “We don’t put out requests for this. It’s people that want to come out and play this incredible venue.”
It’s always challenging to select the performers for the summer, he said, but the lineup this year features some of Huntsville favourites such as the Muskoka Concert Band as well as some new artists like The Hillbirds. Back by request, Jack Nickalls will perform alongside fellow student Josie Robinson. Along with musician and songwriter Luke Murphy, Nickalls and Robinson are a few high school students that will blow your mind, Huddlestone said.
Lauren Saunders attended the announcement as one of the performers with Veronica Leonard and Friends, a group of local theatre performers that came together through local talent Veronica Leonard. Saunders said Leonard pulled the group together to give performers a chance to sing Broadway tunes along with pop music and other songs that they don’t usually get the chance to sing in shows.
“Veronica being the prominent theatre person she is in town, she knows a lot of people and we’re all a big theatre family,” Saunders said. “[This is] just another chance to get together and sing some things that we might not normally get a chance [to sing], whether it’s from a show or whether it’s from more popular recent music.”
Saunders said the group is hoping to surprise people with what they come up with for their performance on August 14. It will also be special for her because, while she has attended many shows from the series in the past six years, this will be her first year as a performer in Concerts at the Dock.
“I’ve attended a bunch of them having lived here for six years, so just to get a chance to be that performer when I’ve always been in the audience admiring is very exciting,” Saunders said, adding that the atmosphere is her favourite part. “The sound carries right over the water, you see everybody everywhere filling up every space possible just to listen and it’s the middle of summer. It’s just nice to be able to be out with your friends or your family listening to great music and great local talent.”
The 2019 Concert on the Docks summer lineup features:
- July 3 – Nicole Lisa Craig
- July 10 – The Hillbirds
- July 17 – Northern Lights Steel Drum Orchestra
- July 24 – Muskoka Concert Band
- July 31 – Jack Nickalls
- August 7 – Billy MacPherson
- August 14 – Veronica Leonard and Friends
- August 21 – Cameron of Lochiel Pipes and Drums
- August 28 – Luke Murphy
For more information on Concerts on the Dock, visit the Algonquin Theatre website or contact Matt.Huddlestone@huntsville.ca.