Mishawaka Gearing Up for 2012 Season

By Emily Clingman

With an internal makeover, more professional operating standards, and a new shuttle service, the legendary Mishawaka Amphitheater has settled into its revitalized image and owner, Dani Grant, couldn’t be happier.

“We set the bar high last summer and we’re super excited about the success,” she said.

One significant change that worked well was the new shuttle service. Gone are the days of driving up to a show and camping out in the car. Grant implemented a pretty hefty parking fee for cars ($40, which is donated to local sustainable living non-profits). As an affordable alternative, two-way shuttles were made available at various pick-up points in town for $10 per person.

“It was just dangerous,” Grant said. “ People were walking down the canyon in the middle of the road in the middle of the night. People were getting hurt and cars were even going into the river because people miss-judged where they were parked and drove over the bank into the water.”

While some groaned about the policy last year, it didn’t deter concertgoers. If anything, Grant said the new system broadened the Mishawaka’s customer base, which included people who normally avoided the Mish and its parking chaos.

“We have sixty parking spots available and they never once sold out last summer,” Grant said.

Enthusiastic about the positive environmental impact of the new system, Grant reported that during last summer’s season, the shuttle service eliminated more than 500,000 vehicle miles between Fort Collins and the Mish.

Other upgrades and changes have improved the quality of the Mishawaka. The former indoor dancehall has been transformed into the new SpokesBUZZ Lounge, hosting intimate indoor performances by emerging local bands throughout the winter, and movie night on Thursdays. The restaurant has a new menu featuring fresh, local food.

This summer, a new feature will include partnerships with Jax Fish House and Rocky Mountain Adventures. For $120, customers can go on a Poudre River rafting trip, eat a crab and crawfish boil lunch made at the Mish by Jax, and catch an evening show. Transportation is included in the package.

Most important though, is the music line-up.

“We’re bringing in a more sophisticated talent selection,” said Grant.

Head for the Hills will kick off the season on May 12th. Keb’ Mo’, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Eoto, Greensky Bluegrass, and Bruce Hornsby are some other popular acts scheduled for this summer. Acoustic trio, Bob Weir, Chris Robinson, Jackie Greene is already sold out.

“It’s magical up here,” Grant said. “There’s nothing better than dipping your feet in the river and listening to awesome music.”

For a complete listing of this summer’s events and information on transportation or the restaurant, go to www.themishawaka.com. See the back cover of this issue for info as well.