Brian Vander Ark to kick off Max and Emily's Summer Concert series
No one is quite sure who Brian Vander Ark is bringing with him to jam on the first night of Max and Emily's Summer Concert Series. However, Max and Emily's owner Tim Brockman the loose gig is going to be a good time.
Kicking off the sixth season of the concert series, Vander Ark is scheduled to perform with an unlisted group of friends in downtown Mount Pleasant at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The annual concert series has brought him and many other musicians of diverse playing styles and genres to the area over the last half of the decade.
"It's great for the City of Mount Pleasant," Brockman said. "We have a good partnership with the people. (Former City Manager) Kathy Grinzinger said it made Mount Pleasant a more interesting place to live."
Brockman said Chris "Elmo" Walton, the general manager at Max and Emily's, has done a great job finding bands that are family friendly, yet still entertaining to all ages. He said the musicians love to come back because they feel the sense of community when they perform.
"They appreciate the crowd so much," Brockman said. "The support they feel in Mount Pleasant is tremendous. Everyone embraces these people when they come in."
Vander Ark's performance is just the start, as July and August will be filled with music downtown due to the concert series.
On July 31, The Kreuger Brothers will bring their award-winning Bluegrass music to Mount Pleasant. The European trio has performed on David Letterman, toured with Steve Martin and is being inducted into the Blue Ridge Hall of Fame.
Mount Pleasant's own American Idol contestant Shubha Vedula will perform on August 7. The Sacred Heart Academy graduate made it to the Top 20 on American Idol in season 12.
On August 14, The Saucecats will be returning to keep the groove going. The New Orleans style band had a 200-person conga line going through downtown last year.
Rounding out the final performance, The Ragbirds will play on August 23. In years past, the band has had community members on their feet, dancing the evening away. Brockman said The Ragbirds' last performance in the series have made them a Mount Pleasant.
All shows start at 7 p.m. in downtown Mount Pleasant in front of Max and Emily's Eatery, 125 E. Broadway St. Brockman recommends bringing a chair to sit.
Donations for the Red Cross Infant Food Pantry are also welcome. Brockman said the money goes to buy formula and diapers for families in need. The group has done donations since the start of the Summer Concert Series.