MAYVILLE - A new summer concert series that features nationally touring acts has found a home on Chautauqua Lake.
As part of The Chautauqua Belle's "Belle Bash Summer Concert Series," the steamship will host several live performances through August. The next concert is scheduled for Sunday from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and will include Eric Lindell and the Sunliners featuring Anson Funderburgh.
According to Todd Wagner, founder of Lucky Dog Productions, a Johnstown, Pa.-based music promotion and artist management group which represents Lindell, the series aims to feature nationally touring acts on the Belle.
"This is the first year we've established a summer concert series, and the Belle was a fit," said Wagner. "Back in my college days I'd rent out the Belle to have a funk band on it with a big party, and it was very successful. So, it seemed like a good thing to bring to the Belle. The goal is to bring in something that you wouldn't normally catch at a local bar."
In addition to handling the booking for the Belle series, Wagner, a native of Mayville who graduated from Chautauqua Lake Central School, is a chairman of the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 2-4 in Johnstown. For more information visit floodcitymusic.com.
Eric Lindell and the Sunliners featuring Anson Funderburgh is comprised of: Lindell, a guitar, harmonica, keyboard and bass player; Miles Weeks, upright bass; Will McMains, drums; and several other musicians. Funderburgh, who joined the band on CD and tour, is a Texas native blues guitarist and producer. Funderburgh released his first album with his band Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets in 1981, and has since appeared on nearly a dozen others.
"Eric brings a great run of soul, rhythm and blues," said Wagner. "I hate classifying musicians, especially this one because he runs around so much. He runs into funk, country and reggae and it all swirls together. What's exciting about this show is legendary Texas blues guitar player Anson Funderburgh has been teamed up with Eric on a new album, 'Sunday Morning' and they will perform on the Belle. We're looking at a really great act, and a really neat opportunity to see something in such an intimate setting as the Belle."
Following Sunday's concert, the series will feature two more dates. Instrumental rock band, Los Straitjackets, will entertain guests of the Belle on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. The band features Danny Amis, guitarist; Eddie Angel, guitarist; Pete Curry, bassist; Greg Townson, guitarist; and Chris Sprague, drummer. A rock 'n' surf band that formed in the late 1980s, Los Straitjackets is a group of musicians who perform while wearing Lucha Libre wrestling masks. For more information visit straitjackets.com.
Although the series has primarily been held on Sundays, the finale will be held Wednesday, Aug. 28, at 6:30 p.m. The concert will feature Eilen Jewell, who released her debut album, "Boundary County," in 2006. Since then, Jewell has become an internationally touring singer-songwriter, who released "Queen of the Minor Key," in 2011. On her CDs, and live, Jewell is joined by Jerry Miller, guitarist; Jason Beek, drummer; and Johnny Sciascia, upright bassist. For more information visit eilenjewell.com.
According to Wagner, another goal of the series is to draw area residents from across the region, and the first show, which featured New Riders of the Purple Stage, is an indicator of the success of such a goal.
"The majority of ticket purchasing comes from Buffalo, Erie, Fredonia, Warren and other neighboring areas," said Wagner. "As a Mayville guy, I love our region, so I'm trying to drive some attention to it and to this boat that I love. We had New Riders on, and they are a great, long-standing, nationally touring band. Ticket sales were great, and it seemed that everybody walked away happy.
"The series almost forces people to enjoy this jewel of a boat and the beautiful lake that we have," continued Wagner. "Even with the hard surfaces on that boat, the fact that the music can expand and run across water always makes it sound great. Plus, with the sound of the steam and the cadence creates an intimate setting."
The concerts are sponsored by the Arthur R. Gren Foundation, Bud Light and Southern Tier Brewing Company. Tickets to the Belle Bash series are $50, and include a three-hour cruise. The boat pushes off at promptly 6:30 p.m., but guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes early. The Chautauqua Belle is located at 78 Water St. in Mayville. For more information call 269-2355, visit 269belle.com or search for "Lucky Dog Productions" on Facebook.