Music speaks to Bay City’s growing statewide reputation as an entertainment destination

While you were enjoying last summer’s concerts and festivals, Mike Bacigalupo was ramping up artists and events to fill up the summer of 2023 in Bay City. This year will prove to be the busiest yet.

No stranger to the task, Bacigalupo not only helps Downtown Bay City, but approves other concerts downtown for other promoters, finalizes every week-long event from the Tuesday Free Movies In Wenonah Park Series straight through to the big-ticket weekend events.

This year, during the March 8 concert announcement for the Rockin’ The River Concert Series, Bacigalupo announced, “We are going to be doing nine concerts this summer. Last year we did three.”

Heavily sponsored by local businesses and radio, the expansion of the season shows the progress the city has made post-COVID-19 lockdowns. The outburst of concert ticket purchases and the massive success for shows in 2022 has opened new doors for Bay City as it continues to expand as an event destination for people from across the state.

The lineup is posted on the State Theatre Events Calendar.

As in the past, the summer big tickets are a mix of classic rock staple artists that have regularly appeared locally, as well as a few fresh country artists offering new sounds to fans.

“The 7th of July is Gabby Barrett and Ashley McBryde – country ladies,” says Bacigalupo, during a recent phone interview. “The 8th of July is Styx, 21st is .38 Special, 22nd is Here Come The Mummies, Aug. 4, is Riot V, Aug. 5 is Larry McCray, Aug. 18, is Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Aug. 19, is Warrant and Nelson with special guests and wrapping up Aug. 26, is Paul Young, Tommy Tutone, and Rick Springfield, who wanted to come back to Bay City.”

The hard rock side is well represented by Saginaw’s own Todd Michael Hall with his group Riot V, whom he has fronted since 2013. The night includes a mix of original and cover acts including Here After Six, The Screaming Casanovas, and The Chase Engel Band.

“In the Saginaw area I am mostly known for being a member of the band Harlet, but we also released an album under the name Pulling Teeth in 1994,” says Hall recently.

“I am blessed to be able to play shows with Riot all over the world,” added the Season 18 contender on TV show The Voice. “We’re not playing out all the time, but we do about 25 shows a year. It’s harder to get shows in the mid-Michigan area, because the rest of the guys in the band are from New York, New Jersey, and Texas. Consequently, when I get a chance to play in the area, I’m really excited.”

Grammy-nominated artists Larry McCray takes the stage in Bay City this summer.Blues fans will finally get a local show from the area’s national blues legend Larry McCray, after his Grammy-nominated album “Blues Without You,” last year. The event will feature a bevy of local original music artists opening including The Robert Lee Revue, Scott Baker Band, and Mike Brush Group. Blues, jazz, and rock will be in the mix for the entire day for the Wheelz 104.5 and Kiss 107.1 event.

“It’s going to be a fun one this year,” said McCray while home for his birthday in early April. “It sounds like a lot of my friends will be playing with me that day too. I hope to get the word out to all the music fans that have wanted to see me in Bay City.”

Robert Lee (Bobby Balderrama from ? and the Mysterians fame) recently shot to #1 once again on the Billboard charts for his album “The Great Hall Of Smooth Jazz” single ‘I’ll Be The One,’ recorded with Le Sonic. His last trip to the top was “96 Tears” in 1966.

“I’m working on the next solo single and also will be recording (again) with Le Sonic in the fall,” says Balderrama. “It will be a great time at Wenonah.”

Fans of the funk and fun rock will rejoice over a return of Here Comes The Mummies. They will once again take the stage in Wenonah Park. with special guest Saxsquatch.

The .38 Special concert will feature local artist ADABOY! who will be promoting singles up until their album will be released in 2024. All recorded down in Nashville, ADABOY! have been promoting the sound they are getting from the star studio mixers starting with Time (Voices Run) which was just released.

“It feels great to have a national show,” notes frontman/guitarist Mike Thomas. “I’m so excited to stand in front of all our family and friends. It feels like a huge lift off for Bay City’s own ADABOY!”

Bacigalupo added that the Rick Springfield/Men At Work/John Waite show last August was the biggest concert attendance in the history of shows at Wenonah Park.

Other local entertainment events start early in the season including May 21, with a local fundraiser for the McMath Brothers. Billed as “Breathe Hope-A Benefit Concert for Mike and Scott McMath,” the event will bring in the A-list of local cover groups including Jedi Mind Trip, The Rockshow, Stone Street Revival, Empty Canvas (the McMath Brothers Band), and an encore of The Paul McCartney Show which made its debut last year in Wenonah Park.

Another massive country event is happening again this year, on top of State Theatre events.
The Bay City Country Music Festival in Wenonah Park with Jimmie Allen with special guests Alexandra Kay and local favorite Matt Ferranti June 15, Mitchell Tenpenny with special guests Jon Langston and local country star Waylon Hanel June 16, and Nelly with special guests TBA June 17. Put together by Ken Shelton Promotions, the concert is his 6th Annual Country Fest.

Fourth of July weekend and the Bay City Fireworks Festival will see the ‘80s come alive with a live concert from Firehouse. Press for the show was represented by local syndicated ‘80s hard rock radio host Hairball John (Bellsmith) for this Fired Up For The ‘80s Fourth of July event. Infamous Quick is opening the evening.

“I have been hosting “‘70s and ‘80s – Name That Tune,” at Bay City Bill’s and Rathskeller, Earl Bovia’s establishments, for the past three years,” says Bellsmith. “He has been a huge supporter of the Hairball John Radio Show and we frequently talk about our passion for hair metal. As President of the Bay City Fireworks Festival Committee, Earl approached me about my thoughts on bringing a hair metal band to Bay City for one of the nights.”

With availability, stage presence, popularity, and budget all in mind, Hairball John went to work. He will also be hosting a tailgate party under the pavilion that day in Wenonah Park.

“Working with Earl gave me insight to the business side that has always intrigued me,” he continues. “Firehouse still sounds really good and provides an engaging performance. They have been one of my favorite (groups) to interview because of how casual and friendly they are. They have always been known to be a ‘fan-friendly’ band, especially as the music scene veered away from metal in the early ‘90.”

Labadie Rib Fest returns July 27-30, with Little River Band on July 27, Rodney Atkins with the Family Tradition Band on July 28, Lita Ford and Dokken with special guest Redburn on July 29, and Molly Hatchet with Foghat on July 30.

Sept. 9 will find the Peace Of Mind Concert at Wenonah Park, a fundraiser for Brian’s House.

When reaching out to promoter Chad Cunningham to see if he had any big concerts to announce in 2023, he noted that he “will not be doing a show” this year.

Bacigalupo said an added attraction will be the Feet On The Street on the corner of 5th and Saginaw streets. He just released an entertainment schedule for that area.

“We want a busking-style event for local musicians, to help promote the Feet On The Street in (Downtown) Bay City,” he adds. “There is going to be plenty of entertainment this summer, everywhere you go in Bay City.”

A partial schedule of events includes:

2023 Free Movies in Wenonah Park (Tuesdays)
July 4: “Cars”
July 11: “Alvin & The Chipmunks”
July 18: “Cars 2”
July 25: - “Alvin & The Chipmunks 2: The Squequel”

All shows begin at dustin Wenonah Park. Rain site will be the State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave., at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Edward Jones Investments.

2023 Young Peoples Summer Series in Wenonah Park (Wednesdays)
July 5: Magic with the Amazing Clark
July 12: Richard Paul The Ventriloquist
July 19: Juggling with Rufus the Dufus
July 26: Rick and Dayna’s Playground

All shows begin at 11:45 am at the Nickless Family Community Pavilion in Wenonah Park. All shows take place rain or shine. Sponsored by the Bay City Noon Optimists and the Bay
County Library System.

Wednesdays in the Park Summer Concert Series 2023
June 7: The Bay Concert Band
June 14: The Traveling Milburys (A Traveling Wilburys Tribute)
June 21: Shakedown (A Bob Seger Tribute)
July 5: Simply Queen (A Queen Tribute)
July 12: The Gambler Returns (A Kenny Rogers Tribute)
July 19: Sunset Blvd (A Blast from the past)
July 26: The Insiders (A Tom Petty Tribute)
Aug. 2: Listen to the Music (A Doobie Brothers Tribute)
Aug. 9: Van Halen Invasion (A Van Halen Tribute)
Aug.16: Chicago Transit (A Chicago Tribute)
Aug. 23: Epic Eagles (An Eagles Tribute)
Aug. 30: Abbamania (An ABBA Tribute)
Sept. 6: Trilogy Classics Live (A Foreigner/Journey/STYX Tribute)

All concerts begin at 7 p.m. Rain site is the State Theatre. Rain calls will be made by 4 p.m.

If you prefer a smaller venue for live music, then Thursdays at Uptown may be for you.2023 Thursdays at Uptown
June 29: Coleman Road Band
July 6: NiConn
July 13: Sarah Schingeck Music
July 20: A Pair of Aces
July 27: Josh Ramses Band
Aug. 3: The String Thing Band
Aug.10: Jeff Yantz Music
Aug. 17: Finnegans Cross
Aug. 24: Scott Baker Band

All show begin at 6 p.m. In case of bad weather, the show will be canceled.

Friday at the Falls 2023
June 30: NiConn
July 7: The Scott Baker Band
July 14: Sarah Schingeck Music
July 21: Finnegans Cross
July 28: Coleman Road Band
Aug. 4: Jeff Poirier Music
Aug. 11: A Pair of Aces
Aug. 18: The String Thing Band
Aug. 25: The Josh Ramses Band

All shows begin at 6 p.m. In case of bad weather, the show will be canceled.

Feet on the Street 2023
Street busk-style performances on the corner of 5th and Saginaw streets in Downtown Bay City
June 2: Scott Baker
June 9: Jason Shaw
June 16: Nicole King
June 23: Jeff Poirier
June 30: Scott Baker
July 7: Frank & Jude
July 14: Jason Shaw
July 21: Jeff Schrems
July 28: Nicole King
Aug. 4: Frank & Jude
Aug.11: Levi & the Hookerman
Aug. 18: Jeff Schrems
Aug. 25: Levi & the Hookerman

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