A Summer Full of Music at Peach Barn

Jason and Sarah White have a busy summer ahead of them. The couple owns Peach Barn Farmhouse and Brewery, and the venue will host live music every day from June 2 to the end of September.

Peach Barn started booking regular live-music gigs only two years ago in 2022, according to Jason White. By the following summer, they were hosting live music four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays. That 2023 season went so well that Peach Barn’s owners decided to put together an even fuller schedule for 2024.

The months-long streak of shows will include local artists like Cathy Grier and Jeanne Kuhns, as well as acts from beyond the county like Fox Crossing Stringband and Heartland Howlers. Many of the featured artists play folksy acoustic sets, but White doesn’t have any hard-and-fast rules for which musicians he books; rock and country artists have played at the venue too.

Guests gather in Peach Barn’s beer garden. File photo by Kayla Larson.

When it comes to finding musicians, White doesn’t have to look far. He often recruits acts from previous summers, and many musicians who have played the venue in the past refer their friends.

“Word-of-mouth spreads fast through the music world up here,” White said.

Finding new blood to put onstage is similarly simple – many musicians approach White, dropping off a business card or sending out an email to ask if they can play at Peach Barn. 

One artist who did so is Julien Kozak, a Milwaukee-based singer-songwriter who plays mellow guitar tunes, supported by a voice that often reminds audiences of a young James Taylor.

Kozak approached Peach Barn soon after it began hosting live music and ended up playing his first Door County show there. Now, he’s a regular at the Sister Bay venue; according to White, he has likely played more shows at Peach Barn than any other artist.

Julien Kozak. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Responding to requests from artists who want to play at the venue, rather than having to go out and find them on his own, gives White the luxury of choosing from a list of potential musicians. More artists than White could fit in the summer schedule have reached out.

“It’s easy to book a bunch [of shows] when you have a lot of really awesome, talented musicians that are asking you to play at your venue,” White said.

After a new artist contacts White, he asks for a sample of their music to make sure “their vibe is what we want.” Then comes the hard part: the scheduling.

White typically starts the process in November, with plans to have a mostly-finalized schedule by January or February. A giant spreadsheet makes the process easier on White’s end, but coordinating schedules with 40-plus musicians is still a challenge.

White begins by making a list of the artists from previous seasons that he’d like to invite back, then reaches out to ask what their summer schedules look like. The regulars are plugged into the calendar first, with White making sure he finds dates that work for them. Then he reaches out to his new hires and figures out who can play the remaining dates. 

To further complicate the process, White tries to ensure the same artist doesn’t play too many times. He also avoids making awkward scheduling gaps for out-of-town musicians who, like Kozak, are located far away from the peninsula.

Summer is the busiest time of year for Kozak when it comes to music; he plays around three times a week at various locations. When he comes to Door County, he often stays in a camper van, joined by his dog, Rudy, who accompanies him on state-park hikes and sometimes even his shows. Kozak’s next Peach Barn set is on June 7, 3-6 pm. 

It’s a long trip for the Milwaukee-based artist, but the homey atmosphere at Peach Barn makes it worth it. 

“It’s like playing in someone’s backyard,” Kozak said. “People are always happy when they’re up there because they’re on vacation, drinking a beer.” 

Peach Barn will feature daily live music June 2 through Sept. 30, with a few straggler shows planned for October. Sets usually take place 3-6 pm. Check our weekly events calendar for details.

Peach Barn Farmhouse & Brewery is located at 2450 S. Bay Shore Dr. in Sister Bay.

Peach Barn’s Picks

Here are a few of the returning artists that Peach Barn owner Jason White is especially excited to see perform this summer. All shows listed run 3-6 pm. 

The Cherry Tones

The Cherry Tones play Peach Barn. Photo courtesy of the band. 

June 10, July 8, August 5 and 29, Sept. 6 and 18

This Door County trio knows how to put on a fun show, according to White. Vintage rock is the band’s genre of choice, so expect to jam out to hits by Elvis, The Kinks and other iconic artists during their live shows.

Austin Skalecki 

Austin Skalecki. Photo from the artist’s press page.

June 13, 18 and 26, July 16, 17, 25 and 30 

Born and raised in Wisconsin, this singer-songwriter aims to channel the musical storytellers he grew up listening to, from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan. His heartfelt lyrics are paired with singable guitar riffs and wailing harmonica.

Hunter Gatherer

Hunter Gatherer. Photo courtesy of the artist.

June 17, July 1 and 15, Aug. 12 and 26

This local musician’s Facebook bio promises that “you’ll laugh, cry, and throw up with excitement” from his music (don’t worry – Peach Barn has bathrooms.) He plays a combination of Americana, country and classic rock.

Pat McKillen 

Pat McKillen playing at Peach Barn in 2023. Photo courtesy of Peach Barn.

Aug. 9

This Chicago singer-songwriter always brings his A-game, whether he’s singing his own folk-rock originals or a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” for the thousandth time. Some local friends introduced the Whites to the artist, having babysat him when he was a kid, Jason White said.

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