Cultivate Coffee and Tap House in Ypsilanti holds "craft, community, and cause" as its three core values, and all three will go into its new weekly "Sundays in the Garden" summer music series.
Every Sunday from June 11 to Aug. 20, with a week off July 2, Cultivate will host a free concert in its outdoor beer garden from 6-8 p.m. Featured artists will include local favorites ranging from Chris Dupont to Planet D Nonet. The series echoes summerlong event series like Sonic Lunch or the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, which have both become local entertainment institutions.
Bekah Wallace, director of community and connection for Cultivate, says the seeds for the series were planted several years ago, when her daughter was a year old. She spent a lot of time looking for cool, free things she and her family could do locally.
"I noticed that live music events were a good way to find out what's going on in the community, get connected, meet people, and give back," she says.
After opening the beer garden last summer, Cultivate brought in musicians on an irregular basis, but Wallace felt that a bigger, more regular series was in order.
Each Sunday will feature a local musician, a local charitable cause, and a Michigan beer on tap. A rep from each community nonprofit will speak onstage about the organization's mission, and each will have a table where patrons can learn about volunteering, food or fund drives, and other ways to help. Cultivate will also donate $1 from the purchase price of each beer from the featured brewer to the featured charity.
Wallace says Cultivate's mission is to eradicate hunger by 2030, and many of the nonprofits chosen for the series contribute to that effort either directly or indirectly.
"We are working on how we can strengthen our community and address hunger at a root level," Wallace says.
Featured nonprofits will be Ypsi Meals on Wheels, Michigan Ability Partners, The Agrarian Adventure, SOS Community Services, Dawn Farm, Hope Clinic, Washtenaw ID/WICIR, Ozone House, Growing Hope, and Food Gatherers.
Featured breweries will include HOMES Brewery, Transient Ales, and Bell's Brewery.
"We wanted to feature cool, upcoming breweries but also other breweries that are Michigan favorites," Wallace says.
Wallace says Ypsi already has lots to be proud of, and the series is supposed to be a celebration of "the good things going on and the community organizations we love."
Concerts will be held rain or shine, unless there is a severe weather warning. A tarp system will shield musicians and their instruments in case of light rain, but audience members will "have to be up for the adventure" if it rains, Wallace says.
More information and updates about rain delays or cancellations will be available on Cultivate's Facebook page. A full lineup of bands and beers is available at Cultivate's website.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Cultivate Coffee and Tap House.