White Gull Inn folk concerts feature contemporary and traditional folk artists from all over the country, who perform in an intimate and acoustic setting in the White Gull dining room. The concerts are held approximately once a month in winter, usually on Wednesday nights. Each 8 PM concert is preceded by an optional 6 PM dinner, featuring a special selection by the chef, which varies each month.
The White Gull Concert Series Turns 32
In 1983, on a cold November evening, a small group of Door County visitors and residents gathered at a local inn, enjoying the first of what has become a popular tradition: monthly winter folk concerts. During this time, more than 100 talented folk singers and songwriters from all over the country have performed at the White Gull Inn.
The concerts were conceived by the Innkeeper Andy Coulson, a banjo player himself and lover of traditional and contemporary folk music. Coulson was frustrated by the lack of live entertainment during the long quiet Door County winters. The first concerts were loosely based on the "house concert" concept, in which traveling folk musicians, often on tight budgets and in need of work, are invited into the homes of fans along the route of their travels. The fans provide the musician with food and lodging in return for a concert to a small group of friends, often right in their living rooms. A collection at the door goes to the artist to help defray expenses.
The house concert circuit has provided work and travel expenses for generations of singers and brought folk music to many rural areas that are too small to otherwise provide such entertainment. "I wasn't sure who would come to a concert on a weekday in winter in Fish Creek," Coulson recalls thinking in the beginning. "But we had plenty of room and board , and figured that we had nothing to lose. At the very least, we'd have some quality folk music in Fish Creek."
In the beginning, it was not easy finding artists willing to come so far for such a small turnout. However, as word got around, more and more musicians decided that a "working holiday" in the quiet beauty of the Door Peninsula was worth the trek to the north country. The series has gradually been able to attract in more and more well known performers, such as Anne Hills, Chris Smither, Tom Paxton and Cheryl Wheeler, many of whom normally play in much larger halls.
The pre-concert dinners, now almost as popular as the concerts, were added in recent years at the request of local residents. White Gull chefs responded by offering an optional fixed price dinner, served at 6 pm for each concert.
Concert tickets are $16.00-$20.00 and can be purchased at the door, although most concerts are sold out, so advance ticket purchase and reservations for the pre-concert dinners are recommended. You may purchase tickets at the White Gull front desk, or you can do it by phone, using a credit card.
Folk Musicians Previously Featured at the White Gull
Musicians who have appeared in the White Gull folk concert series in the 32 seasons since its inception in 1983: Tom Paxton, Cheryl Wheeler, John McCuen, Bob Gibson, John McCutcheon, Chris Smither, Michael Smith, Bill Miller, Fred Alley, Vance Gilbert, Neal & Leandra, Lou and Peter Berryman, Michael Johnson, Garnet Rogers, Pat Donohue, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Joel Mabus, David Mallett, Suzzy and Maggie Roche, Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette, Bill Staines, Buddy Mondlock, Bryan Bowers, Peter Keane, Mark Dvorak, Anne Hills, Willy Porter, Michael Miles, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, Jim Hurst and Missy Raines, Dave Moore, Cathie Ryan, Small Potatoes, Matt Watroba, Peter Mayer, Kenny White, Natalia Zukerman, Eric Lewis, Tommy Burroughs, Andy Ratliff, Hans Christian, David Roth, Brooks Williams, Steppin In It with Rachel Davis, James Keelaghan, Chuck Pyle, L. J. Booth, Johnsmith, Clay Riness, Tom Pease, Louise Taylor, Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball, Mark Dvorak, Priscilla Herdman, Claudia Schmidt, Moe Dixon, Susan Smentek, Heartwood, Cosy Sheridan, Becky Schlegel, Don Stiernberg, Victoria Vox, Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin, Michael Johnathon, May Erlewine and Seth Bernard, Peter Mulvey, Jonathan Byrd, Jerry Rau, The Special Consensus, Phil Passen and Highland Road, Antje Duvekot, the Waymores, the Honey Dewdrops, David Wilcox, The Steel Wheels, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, Paul Cebar, Dayna Kurtz, Kelly Joe Phelps, Count This Penny, Carolyn Martin, the Stray Birds, Molly O'Brien and Rich Moore, Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, Rita Hosking, Red Molly, Jake Armerding, Tim Grimm, Mipso, 10 String Symphony.
The concerts are held approximately once a month, November through April, beginning at 8 pm, after an optional dinner served at 6 pm.