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Family-friendly fun at the Celadon Summer Concert Series

The two-man team at Little Duck Music brings local music to a family friendly environment in Grand Rapids.
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A packed crowd at the Celadon Kickoff Show.

A packed crowd at the Celadon Kickoff Show. /All photos by Michael Cook - Grand Rapids Social Diary

2011 Lineup

2011 Lineup /Little Duck Music

When The Northern Skies front man and multi-instrumentalist Eric Engblade first heard of the Celadon Summer Concert Series, he recounted, “I had no idea how to pronounce it, let alone what it was.” Spearheaded by the two-man team at booking agency Little Duck Music, the Celadon Summer Concert Series is in its third year and becoming an event that is gaining more traction every summer.

Picture this: all-ages outdoor amphitheatre, B.Y.O.B policy, locally catered food on site and- at the center of it all- great musical performances by both regional and nationally touring indie/folk acts. This concert series is located at a place called Celadon New Town on the corner of Knapp and Leffingwell, a new urban community that the owners describe as being built on “principles of high design, green building and affordability.”

Matt Paparella, co-owner of Little Duck Music, explains Celadon as really being about “providing the community, both at Celadon New Town and Grand Rapids as a whole, with quality live entertainment.”

Throughout the past three years, Paparella commented on the fact that “the series has slowly evolved from a few local based acts performing to concerts with multiple acts, food vendors and even an artist's market. We've been very excited with the types of bands we've been able to bring in, from soon-to-be regional The Crane Wives to national touring bands such as The Ragbirds and Greensky Bluegrass.”

“What a cool place,” Engblade remarked, after having attended the Celadon Kickoff show on June 30. “They decided they wanted music and theatre to be part of their community, and that was super cool.” Engblade described the event as a “family friendly place that should be on everyone’s radar in Grand Rapids,” and enjoyed the fact that he was even able to bring his dog.

“We are really excited to be able to play for people who won’t maybe go to bars. People get to hear my music who wouldn’t otherwise,” which Eric said is a very rewarding experience. “Outdoor music in Michigan is just really great.”

The goal of the Celadon Summer Concert Series is simple: to “provide the best entertainment for the local community, while keeping it free and in a family friendly atmosphere. We have little kids playing and dancing to music as well as older folks who are just there to enjoy the music and weather," Paparella said. "There are a handful of other places in town to get this experience but I believe we are one of the few that provide that for free.”

“Grand Rapids has a huge appetite for music. More than many places I’ve played at. We have a unique music scene,” Engblade reports, after having recently returned from a tour that stretched as far as Wisconsin and St. Louis. “I think Celadon has the potential to grow because there is a need for more community based music events small enough where you can really connect with the performers and crowd.”

You can catch The Northern Skies at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday with Poor ol’ Jim as the opening act. Also appearing at this year's Celadon Summer Concert Series is Greensky Bluegrass with special guest Dragon Wagon on Sept. 8.

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