2013-07-11 / Life in Leelanau

Northport Music Fest draws bands and crowds


NIGHT STALKER, a garage band from Athens, Ohio, consists of bassist Lauren Young, drummer Lucas Longanbach and guitarist and singer Christopher Lute. NIGHT STALKER, a garage band from Athens, Ohio, consists of bassist Lauren Young, drummer Lucas Longanbach and guitarist and singer Christopher Lute. The inaugural North by Northport Music Festival had about 25 bands entertaining visitors and residents of Northport over four days on the Fourth of July weekend. From indie rock to bluegrass, bands played at six different indoor and outdoor venues.

Night Stalker, a garage rock band from Ohio, was playing its first gig at the festival. Lauren Young, who plays bass, said the brand-new band had only had time for three practices prior to its performance on the Fourth and only knew a few songs. They played them all during their short set on the patio of Northport Brewing. Other venues over the weekend included the Lelu Café, the North End Eatery, The Soggy Dollar, and the Garage Bar & Grill.

Young, of Athens, Ohio, said she had first visited Northport when she attended the inaugural New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, held at the former Brew North restaurant. She had a great time, she said, and was looking for an excuse to come back and North by Northport fit the bill.


A CHALKBOARD SIGN outside of the Lelu Café seems to say it all. Planners of the music festival hope it to make it an annual event. A CHALKBOARD SIGN outside of the Lelu Café seems to say it all. Planners of the music festival hope it to make it an annual event. While the event was the brainchild of Erik Owen, who with his wife Deirdre owns the Lelu Café, formerly Brew North, and Motovino Cellars, the planning was done by Dominic Iseli- Smith. Formerly of Dayton, Ohio, Iseli-Smith came to Northport in November to do some carpentry work and never left. He manages the bar at Lelu Café.

“There’s a gravity to this place,” Iseli-Smith said. “It’s easy to get stuck.”

Iseli-Smith said he hopes the event will be an annual one.

“The idea is to make Northport a destination,” he said. “To extend the season to make it a place for people to go out of their way to go to. And music is a way to do that.”


SINGER GUITARIST Christopher Lute of the band Night Stalker enjoys a little applause after playing a song on the patio of Northport Brewing. SINGER GUITARIST Christopher Lute of the band Night Stalker enjoys a little applause after playing a song on the patio of Northport Brewing. Though the event hadn’t quite heated up by last Thursday afternoon, the people that were there were having fun, Iseli-Smith said.

“It was a good start,” Dierdre Owen said. “There were a lot of people who really enjoyed the festival and thought this was a great thing.”

— By Patti Brandt



DOMINIC ISELISMITH, bar manager at the Lelu Café in Northport, was in charge of planning the first North by Northport Music Festival held over the Fourth of July weekend. DOMINIC ISELISMITH, bar manager at the Lelu Café in Northport, was in charge of planning the first North by Northport Music Festival held over the Fourth of July weekend.

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