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A local playlist for the summer

LedgeStone Vineyards prepare for its Wine Down Thursday Concert Series

By Chris Rugowski

The community comes together outside LedgeStone Vineyards & Gnarly Cedar Brewery for the Thursday music series. Great Scott Images Photos

With summer on the horizon, live outdoor music typically follows closely behind – add a glass or two of wine or craft beer, and summer nights have officially arrived.

LedgeStone Vineyards & Gnarly Cedar Brewery, located 10 minutes south of De Pere at 6381 HWY 57 in Greenleaf, is gearing up for the fifth year of its Wine Down Thursday Music Series, starting Thursday, June 2.

Kicking off this year’s series is Unity the Band, who specializes in the three R’s: roots, rock and reggae.

Vineyard owner Adam Magnuson said the events have been well-received.

“What’s been amazing is that many of the attendees are there for the music, they listen, they clap for solos and they sing along,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see local artists have a loyal fanbase.”

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the wine, Magnuson said as he dedicates months of preparation to make the annual summer event a successful one.

Magnuson said part of what adds to the series’ overall atmosphere is the attendees themselves.

“It’s a pretty special feeling right before the show,” he said. “There’s a buzz in the air; a constant flow of people arrive and begin the setup of their ‘camping spot’ for the evening. We always recommend bringing a lawn chair and blanket. We’ve seen some awesome setups for these shows, full-on tents, with decorations and lights.”

Magnuson also said the property LedgeStone Vineyards & Gnarly Cedar Brewery sits on adds to the atmosphere, with the backdrop of the Niagara Escarpment as a bonus.

Theresa Bajorek Caldie, a frequent attendee of the Wine Down nights, echoed Magnuson’s sentiment of the events’ atmosphere.

“Music can transport your heart, soul and psyche to an ethereal dimension of pure joy,” she said. “When the venue is an outside stage nestled within a panoramic vista of a stunningly beautiful Wisconsin countryside, highlighted by the amazing LedgeStone Vineyard, the effect is magical. This setting combined with the owners’ passion about music, wine, exceptional food and craft beer – and a friendly and welcoming staff – elevated our experience to complete perfection.”

Pickin’ Buds performed at LedgeStone in August 2021. The majority of the musicians who perform at the Wine Down Thursday Music Series are local or based in Wisconsin.

Food, wine, and other alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase each Thursday. Magnuson said to skip the food and drink lines, people can pre-order on LedgeStone’s website before 4 p.m. on the day of, and orders will be ready once they arrive.

Happy hour pricing runs until 5 p.m.

Magnuson said a variety of food trucks will also be in rotation throughout the summer.

Magnuson said he is looking forward to this year’s series.

He said the lineup is one of the best yet.

“We are excited for a couple of new artists joining the schedule – including a blues band, Altered 5 Blues Band, and southern country-rock artist Chris Kroeze – who was the runner up in the TV show The Voice in 2018,” Magnuson said.

De Pere musician Kurt Gunn, who is set to perform Thursday, July 21, said his past experiences with LedgeStone have been nothing short of great.

“(The owners) are two of my favorite people, and true supporters of local musicians and vendors,” he said. “The atmosphere is so laid back that you almost forget you are working a gig. Whether you are performing inside or out, they have created spaces for both that lets the listeners know that they are there for the music, and lets the musicians know that they will be heard and enjoyed. Simply an amazing venue situated with beautiful surroundings.”

Daniel Wolff, one-half of the Milwuakee-based band Dead Horses. The folk duo played at LedgeStone Vineyards last year and is set to perform again this year as well.

Each event is capped at 400 attendees, with limited parking.

Shows run from 6-9 p.m.

Two ticket options are available – a “Reserved Patio” seat, or a General Admission (GA) ticket.

LedgeStone provides seating for the patio, while the GA section is bring your own seat with a few prime spots available – including three fire pits.

Ticket prices range from $10-$30. Season passes for $135 per solo pass, $255 for the couples pass are also available.

Keep up to date and find more information at ledgestonevineyards.com, and follow their social media page for the most immediate updates.

Chris Rugowski is a photojournalist from Green Bay, who mainly focuses on event photography, with an emphasis on bands and music.

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