Harbourside Music Resumes This Summer in Lion’s Head

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Laurel Martin, with daughters Jasmine and Korah, backed by her dad John Baker, performing on the Harbourside stage in 2018.
By Joanne Rodgers, Bruce Peninsula Press

The Harbourside Stage will see the return of its namesake Concert series in the Summer of 2022. Starting June 17, every Friday night until September 2, music lovers are invited to head down to the Harbourside Stage, near the Lion’s Head Beach Pavilion for 7:00 p.m. Bring a lawn chair, and/or a blanket and enjoy an evening of music with family and friends.

The 12 week concert series is known for its wide range of music genres. Some of the regional musicians to be featured are Brian Taylor and Friends, The McLaren Pipe Band, The Ferndale Flats, Three D’s, Jim Martin and the Rogue Wave, Brianna McGowan, Marty Oblak, Ryan Matheson with performers from Camp Celtic, Heidi Cedar Rose, and AIYOYO (a Brazilian jazz fusion group). Harbourside Master of Ceremonies for about five seasons and sometime sound mixer, Gerry Goldie will perform on Stage for the final time as a Lion’s Head resident.

For a full schedule, stay tuned to this local newspaper, and social media sites such as Music on the Bruce on Facebook and LookLocally.ca

The idea for this series was first discussed by John Baker and former Harbour Master Ken Hodge, both musicians, over coffee. They launched the first season of Harbourside in the summer of 2011 and the concerts have been a summer constant in Lion’s Head until the 2020 series was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Ken Hodge and John Baker were very enthused and active in lining up performers for the first season. Hodge was also the Master of Ceremonies for the first season and was an accomplished trumpet player and singer. Unfortunately Hodge passed away in early 2012, before the start of the second season. John Baker continued to be a performer at Harbourside. Baker passed away in 2021. 

Both Hodge and Baker left a legacy of music to the community, situated in a beautiful outdoor venue with the splendor of the water and cliffs of Lion’s Head. 

In 2012, MaryDale Ashcroft became the main organizer. Ashcroft remembers mentioning to Warren Bray that they needed money to buy sound equipment and without hesitation Bray immediately wrote a cheque for the entire sum.

Ashcroft says that they would start booking acts in March for the upcoming summer. At the stage, Gerry Goldie, Brian Osborne, John Fenton and others would spend every Friday night setting up, running the show and taking down the equipment post-show.

While the concerts are free, donations are accepted and the monies raised over the years have been donated to the local daycare, Golden Dawn Seniors Home, BPDS JK/SK class, Christmas decorations for the Hydro Poles, Labour Day Weekend Community Potluck and other charitable causes.

The music stage was originally located waterside, in front of the hilly knoll next to the Memorial Garden. With recent high water levels cresting in 2020/21, the stage platform was partly hanging over the water and had to be moved. In Spring 2021 a group of volunteers relocated the Stage midway between the Memorial Garden and the Beach Pavilion, tucked under shady trees, but still keeping the water and cliffs as a backdrop.

New organizers for 2022

Starting in 2022, Ashcroft has passed on the responsibility for Harbourside to Dominik Franken, Rod Layman and Gerry Gregory. All three have been very involved in Harbourside over the years and are keen musicians.

The new organizers say that they are “thankful to MaryDale Ashcroft for bringing us the Harbourside Music series over the years. Because of the hard work organizing and twisting arms, many of us have spent entertaining Friday evenings at the Lion’s Head Harbour.” 

The new organizers say most of the spots for each Friday evening have been filled and they are excited to see the return of Harbourside this summer.