In celebration of its fifth birthday, South Haven’s Foundry Hall is holding a series of concerts in an attempt to raise money to purchase the multi-use building they reside in.
The venue held its first show back in October of 2007, a Halloween-themed belly dancing extravaganza. Since then, Foundry Hall has become a well-respected live performance venue in Southwest Michigan and a staple amongst the South Haven community. However, harsh economic times have also taken their toll on Foundry Hall, leaving the future of the venue uncertain.
Even before Foundry Hall, the community-center setting has been hosting events from art to comedy to live music in the community since 2001.
The building is still currently up for sale and with South Haven being a popular summer tourist destination, the chance of a potential buyer turning the space into commercial or residential real-estate is possible.
Andru Bremis, Foundry Hall’s artistic director, now aims to raise funds to purchase the building in order to continue use as a community center for performing arts and public gatherings.
Bremis explained that the owners of the building, who wish to remain anonymous, are willing to work with the Foundry Hall team on a land contract. The building is currently listed at a $600,000 value. Bremis is seeking to raise $75,000 to cover the building’s down payment and a good portion of the first year’s finances.
“We know if we can raise that, then we know it’s worth it and enough people are interested in it.” Bremis said.
The birthday concert series includes four nights of music over the course of the next two weeks; three of those nights will be held at Foundry Hall.
The series will officially kick off on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Foundry Hall with “Circle of Friends” featuring folk-country singer-songwriter Duchmyn along with Pamela Chappell, Andru Bemis, and Joe Foster. According to a recent press release from Foundry Hall, the evening will “celebrate the release of the Dutchmyn’s final CD and mark his last public appearance,” with proceeds from album sales benefiting Sturgis Youth for Christ.
Night two will be held on Friday, Oct. 12 at Foundry with Carrie Nation & the Speakeasy, also with special guest Andru Bemis. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with high-paced bluegrass and “circus tunes” that combine trombones and banjos to create a high-energy, “acoustic brass-n-grass” show straight out of Wichita, Kansas.
The very next night, Saturday, Oct. 13, the festivities will continue at the Huron Street Pavillion in Downtown South Haven with a free performance from famed Slovenian pop/rock band Ansambel Kolovrat, also known as “Spinwheel”. A dominant force in the Sloevenian music scene, the band has taken on an ultra-Americanized name and a cowboy look to go along with it. The show starts at 4:30 p.m. and concertgoers can expect a wide range of music styles, from traditional Slovenian tunes, polka and rock, and a unique interpretation of American country.
The birthday series concludes with Foundry Hall’s fifth Birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 16 with 2011 Scottish Folk Band of the Year, Battlefield Band. Battlefield band has been a Scottish music icon for over four decades now, with a fusion of ancient and modern traditional music. Fresh off their new album “Line-up” the Scottish band promises to provide a unique live-music experience that includes bagpipes, fiddle, synthesizer, guitar, flutes, accordion, and even a bodhran. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Foundry Hall, tickets are $13 ($11 for members).
The Foundry Hall is not a bar and does not sell alcohol. Irrelevant as that may seem, this is part of what Bremis believes sets Foundry Hall apart from other music venues in the area.
“Our business is only the performances and the music. We don’t just have music for ambiance or just to sell alcohol. Musicians come here specifically for people who are willing to listen and people come specifically to listen to music.” Bremis said. “It’s rare to find a town with a building or community space like this.”
Currently, only a small portion of the building is used for performance and music and no huge overhauls are planned in the case of a purchase. However, Bremis suggested future ideas for the other parts of the building, including a café or even an indoor farmers market. Either way, if the building does remain as the South Haven Foundry Hall, Bremis said they plan to keep on doing music the way they have been all along.
“We’re here as long as the owners allow us to continue.” Bremis Said. “They really want us to continue and are willing to work with us…it’s hard to have the energy to keep on going when the future is uncertain.”
South Haven Foundry Hall is located at 422 Eagle St. in South Haven, Michigan. Official tickets, show times, event locations, and more information on the upcoming birthday series, as well as other events, can be found online at www.foundryhall.com or by phone at 269.206.3059.