Local brewery’s expansive music scene grows

MARQUETTE — The Ore Dock is celebrating its five year anniversary and a lot of things have changed for the brewery, including its expansive music scene. ABC Ten’s Chelsea Birdsall has the details.

“We’re kind of seeing like the whole ‘Field of Dreams’ mantra, ‘If you build it, they will come,” said Entertainment and Floor Manager at the Ore Dock, Kris Wierenga.

“I think it’s so important to provide not only live music, but also art and comedy and theater – all things that we do have here in our community space because I think that’s part of what makes a community really vibrant,” said Co-Founder and Owner of the Ore Dock, Andrea Pernsteiner.

Aside from its reputation in the beer industry, the Ore Dock Brewing Company has put itself on the map as an entertainment venue, helping usher in an expansive music scene here in Marquette.

“We deal with a great variety of musicians coming from all over the country, deal a lot with our local community artists as well,” said Wierenga. “Some larger touring acts that have roots in the area, like Joshua Davis, and Bumpus seems to be a huge draw and they’ve been coming here for years and years and years.”

In its first year, the Ore Dock hosted just 48 musical acts, but now 5 years later, they book well over 250 acts a year. Though isn’t always an easy feat as Marquette tends to be out of the way for most artists and bands, the trend is starting to change.

“We’re blessed with this beautiful area and people surely want to come here, but musicians are often trying to make a living and we try to be good to that as well,” said Wierenga. “As Marquette continues to grow and Northern Michigan continues to grow, and Michigan just in general, we’re seeing this route over the bridge and through the woods, and we’re seeing more acts wanting to travel this way.”

Other than live music, the community space on the second floor of the Ore Dock also hosts a plethora of other events like theater festivals and art shows, and even doubles as a study room when not in use for another events.

“It’s definitely hard to provide a variety of music and a variety of art for the community because people have so many different interests and so many different likes so we do try to provide a variety of music and I think that’s another place where we do try and listen to our customers,” said Pernsteiner. “If there’s something that we’re not bringing in or a style of music that we’re not showcasing here, we do try and mix it up and do some different things. It’s a learning curve, always.”

And as the Ore Dock marks it five year anniversary, Wierenga says he’s hoping to see the entertainment side of the brewery grow.

“I think it’s just immensely important to the community and not only to have that outlet for artists in the area to be able to come and express themselves and share their music with friends, family and the community. And also to be a mirror in the community for what do you want to do on your Friday or Saturday night. Getting to look out and see people dancing and having fun, that feels good.”