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Speaker’s corner: musicians invited to perform outside two Thompson businesses over the summer

Music Makers will provide a microphone and speaker to performers at specific times and locations on weekends.
isabel carter ukelele july 8 2022 popeyes
Isabel Carter plays ukulele outside Popeye’s on the afternoon of July 8.

One Thompson business is trying to help out a couple of others as well as music lovers in the city by facilitating weekend busking throughout the summer.

Tracy “Smitty” Smith of Music Makers will be providing a speaker and a microphone to musicians who want to perform outside at Popeye’s and the I Scream Shack on weekends while the weather’s good.

The plan is for the microphone and speaker to be at Popeye’s from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the I Scream Shack from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. if there’s a performer who wants to use it.

“I can’t guarantee there’s going to be buskers there all the time,” Smith told the Thompson Citizen July 8, the day that Isabel Carter, the first performer, set up outside Popeye's to play her ukulele. “I’m just hoping that it picks up and people get into doing it.”

Smith received the speaker from the school district as compensation for providing sound services at a conference and says he is just trying to pay the generosity forward.

“It’s a really nice little Bose speaker,” he says. “It’s good for karaoke singers too, because karaoke singers can Bluetooth to it and plug the mic in.”

The idea is for the initiative to be self-managing, Smith says. 

“I’m not going to be there,” he said. “They can pick it up and take it with them when they go perform and return it back to my place when they’re done.”

It’s also intended to be family-friendly, which means that some acts might not be good matches for the venues.

“There’s a few people that want to rap and sometimes their rap’s not appropriate,” Smith says, who also wants to be told if any of the performers play unsuitable material.

The idea hearkens back to an outside concert at the I Scream Shack parking lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, when regular concerts were not allowed.

“It was very popular,” says Smith, who even envisions the program evolving beyond only music.

“If there’s any jugglers or anybody like that, that’s cool,” he said. “I’d like to see that too, some other different types of things.”

Anyone who would like to book a date as a performer is asked to contact Music Makers at 204-778-5665.