Plum Boys bring music home

New production company aims to bring the stars to the Panida

by Billie Jean Plaster
Copyright 1996 © Sandpoint Magazine

They hope to pluck the plums of the music world to play in tiny Sandpoint. And having already wooed guitarist Leo Kottke and singer Emmylou Harris to town, the two men who are "Plum Boys Presents" may indeed help make Sandpoint a regular stop for big-name muscians.

Michael Boge and Kevin Wunrow came up with the idea last May to start a promotion company simply because they want more concerts held in Sandpoint. Their goal is to produce 10 to 12 concerts a year with half being "major" names.

"The more concerts in Sandpoint, the better," Kevin says, pointing out concerts bring more visitors to Sandpoint who, in turn, spend more money for lodging and food.

Besides, the perk of being a promoter is you get to enjoy some great music.

The Plum Boys think they can attract big acts to the Panida Theater because of the town's unique qualities, the historic theater's charm - and a good location. Big-name acts travelling between engagements in Seattle or Portland and Calgary can play Sandpoint because the town provides a convenient stop when there's a hole in the intinerary.

"I think the town has a lot of potential. Everyone in music should play here," Kevin says.

Plus the pair are high on their concert hall, the Panida. There's a big difference between seeing an act play the 3,000-seat Met in Spokane and experiencing an act at the Panida ­ a former vaudeville theater with fewer than 600 seats. Not only do concertgoers enjoy the intimate setting, but performers enjoy being closer to a more responsive audience as well. The result is a party atmosphere full of positive energy.

Their strategy on drawing big acts to the Panida is working so far. As a follow-up to Kottke in July, in September they hosted Emmylou Harris for two sold-out shows.

Their name, Plum Boys Presents, comes from some advice given to them: "You don't want to just bring in the acts, you want to pick the plums," they were told. Now that's their goal.

Kevin's wife played with the Seattle Symphony for eight years, but that's as close as either had gotten to the music business previously. But they are confident Plum Boys Presents and Sandpoint have a solid future together.

"I think if we keep working at it, we'll build a reputation for Sandpoint and the Panida," says Michael. "It's that unique"

For information on the next Plum Boys concert, call the Panida at 208/263-9191.

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