The Great Waters Music Festival Story
Great Waters Music Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to culturally enriching New Hampshire's Lakes Region. Prior to the 2011 season, concerts took place in the acoustic pavilion located on the shores of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH. In 2011 we moved our performances indoor to the beautiful Kingswood Arts Center at 21 McManus Road in Wolfeboro.
Great Waters Music Festival was founded in 1995 by Dr. Gerald Mack, Director of the Worcester Chorus and a former professor at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. The non-profit summer festival was organized to encompass a diversified program designed to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, both classical and popular, and to bring together outstanding amateur and professional musicians. Its purpose is to promote live musical performances including choral, symphonic, folk, pops, jazz, Broadway, dance, and renowned vocal and instrumental artists.
For four years, the Festival's leadership derived primarily from its highly active Board of Directors and from the musical expertise of Dr. Gerald Mack. In addition, scores of community volunteers offered their support in acting as ushers and concert staff during the concert season. Realizing the increasing need for a permanent staff, the Board of Directors hired an Executive Director in the spring of 1999 and established a part time position for an Administrative Assistant.
Since 1995, the Festival has grown from 325 attendees of one classical performance to the present audience of well over 7,000, enjoying eight different programs and two educational offerings. Great Waters Music Festival has consistently attracted regional and national artists to New Hampshire. Celebrity stars Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Ronan Tynan, Richie Havens, Canadian Brass, Sandy Duncan, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Nero, Natalie MacMaster, Chuck Mangione, Betty Buckley, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lucie Arnaz, Suzanne Ishee, Mark Hardy, Judy Collins, Lee Bryant, Nanci Griffith and Judy Gibson have all delighted sold-out audiences comprised of permanent and seasonal New Hampshire residents, vacationers, visitors and regional musicians of all ethnic and age groups.
The year 2000 marked the introduction of the Great Waters Music Festival's acoustical performance pavilion, purchased following an extensive capital campaign and preparatory site work including the installation of underground drainage, electricity, road access, area lighting, and tent anchor points. Located on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee on the Brewster Academy grounds, the acoustic pavilion provided a quality musical experience with a seating capacity to accommodate the growing, enthusiastic audience that the Festival attracts. The pavilion was erected each season for eight to ten weeks and provided the Festival with excellent sound quality, large stage, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, and comfortable seating with no obstructions for 800 people.
In 2011 a new state-of-the-arts facility was built by the Governor Wentworth School District in Wolfeboro enabling the Festival to move its headliner concerts into the Kingswood Arts Center. The move coincided with a shift in the Festival's business model and a new strategic plan that positions the organization to meet the challenges of the economy and national decline in audience numbers at performances. This combination of forward thinking strategies resulted in an increase in sponsor and donor support that enables the Festival to present a strong line-up of first-class concerts for its inaugural season at Kingswood Arts Center. We look forward to seeing you there!