Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Profiles
A musical marathon


Nestled on the pebbly pristine northern shores of Lake Superior, the remote Ontario town of Marathon is an unsuspecting candidate for regular live music rock-outs. Thanks to the husband and wife team of Beverlee and Andrew Coulter, owners of the local Pizza Hut, the folks who call Marathon home can look forward to weekly bands on Wednesdays for all of July and August.

Nestled on the pebbly pristine northern shores of Lake Superior, the
remote Ontario town of Marathon is an unsuspecting candidate for
regular live music rock-outs. Thanks to the husband and wife team of
Beverlee and Andrew Coulter, owners of the local Pizza Hut, the folks
who call Marathon home can look forward to weekly bands on Wednesdays
for all of July and August.

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Local band Wooley and the Mammoths jamming on the Pizza Hut stage.


Beverlee was born and raised in Marathon, met Andy in Toronto and the
couple moved back 14 years ago. The Pizza Hut store wasn’t for sale at
that time, but there was a position open and Andy went to work there.
They took over the store in 2000 after Andy proposed buying it.
Together, they realized there was a real lack of live music in their
community. Thus, Concerts in the Parking Lot! was born.

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“We didn’t have a clue how to start it at first. We had the Pizza Hut and had the parking lot,” says Beverlee.

There are lots of bands that travel through Marathon, as it’s about
halfway between Toronto and Winnipeg. At first it was just local
artists, but as it has evolved into its fourth season, musicians are
contacting the Coulter’s and the concerts have expanded beyond their
store parking lot to their home and local ski club in the winter.

In true community fashion, concert goers pay by donating to a hat that
is passed around. The suggested amount is $10, but people can pay
whatever they are able. The funds go to the band, whose members can
donate the money to local charity or keep it.

“There is a lot of support in donating from local bands,” says
Beverlee. “We’re at the point now where we can commit to an amount [to
pay the musicians], and to feeding them and hosting them overnight.”

Over the years it’s grown into a standard thing to do on a Wednesday in
the summer in Marathon, she says, with anywhere from 15 to 300 fans
showing up. People bring their own lawn chairs.

“I think the simplicity of it has really made it work.”

What works, tends to grow. The municipality has donated money in past
years to help feed and host the musicians. This year the Coulters have
partnered with a local gold mine operator, Barrick Gold-Hemlo
Operations, who is donating funds this year to buy sound equipment. The
Coulter’s found that the bands don’t always travel with all their
equipment.

The events have even inspired art. The Coulters commissioned a local
art teacher and students to do a mural on the side of their store to
serve as a backdrop for where the bands play. The picture is a group of
seven painting depicting the banks of Marathon. To check out the bands
playing Concerts in the Parking Lot!, visit
www.concertsintheparkinglot.com.


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