Holiday Music Motel Headquarters Relocated for Songwriter Sessions
Posted March 14th, 2008 by Linda

June 10, 2007


The renovation of the Holiday Motel has encountered some delays. In the true spirit of community that is a hallmark of the Steel Bridge SongFest, a neighboring property has been made available by Jon and Patti Hanson for the songwriters. The Beach Harbor Resort will be the headquarters for the Construction Zone songwriters' workshop during this year's festival. A traveling recording studio has been installed at the Beach Harbor and two ancillary studios have been erected in other locations around town to capture this year's original songs.

March 14, 2008
Linda Akins
Editor Note: The spelling of pat mAcdonald is correct.


Nation’s First Music Motel Gives Travelers a Place to Rest amid a Taste of Music History

STURGEON BAY, WISCONSIN. The re-opening of the Holiday Music Motel this Spring will make both music and motel history. The facility is the first ever to combine the comfort and charm of a historic motel with the mission of making great music. First opened in the 1950s, the motel has recently been renovated with an emphasis on preserving the historic look while adding an uncommon component—a full recording studio.

The unusual theme evolved when the Holiday Motel in historic downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, became the headquarters for the inaugural Steel Bridge SongFest in 2005. The SongFest is the brainchild of Christie Weber, president of Citizens for Our Bridge, and pat mAcdonald, singer and songwriter. The brother/sister team created the SongFest to raise money and awareness for the preservation of the Sturgeon Bay Bridge on Michigan Street. The Holiday Motel sits at the approach to the bridge and was a convenient gathering point for the singers and songwriters who performed at the SongFest, including noted musician Jackson Browne.

In the second season of the SongFest, mAcdonald added a component for songwriters called The Construction Zone. Twenty-five songwriters were invited to a week-long collaborative workshop where they wrote and recorded their original songs. The idea was such a success that it was made a permanent fixture at the SongFest. In 2006 and 2007, some 150 songs were written and recorded at the Holiday Motel. One CD of songs written at the motel has been produced and a second CD is under way.

The enthusiasm and creative output of the songwriters set a force in motion. Anna Sacks, one of the original songwriters at The Construction Zone, was so moved by her experience that she wanted others to have the opportunity she did. When she expressed this, pat mentioned that the hotel was for sale and would make an ideal permanent home for The Construction Zone.

A group of 20 like-minded music lovers, including Sacks, mAcdonald and Jackson Browne, formed Holiday Motel Management LLC and purchased the motel in June of 2007. After a renovation focusing on preserving the 1950s look and feel of the building and greening the facility for environmental friendliness, the newly christened Holiday Music Motel nearing completion.

Guests can expect comfortable, sound-proof rooms with the original 1950 bedroom suites in pristine condition. Some rooms have been custom-designed by music legends such as Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s fame. The motel is located in the heart of the Sturgeon Bay Historic District within walking distance of restaurants, bars, art museums, the ship chanel, and historic sites including the Sturgeon Bay Bridge. It is also a convenient gateway to all of Door County, a popular vacation destination for visitors from Milwaukee and Chicago. Musicians who stay at The Holiday Music Motel can make special arrangements to record their music in the state-of-the-art recording studio. Environmentalists will rest comfortably knowing that the hotel is a LEED-certified structure.

“We hope that the Holiday Music Motel can become a nucleus for the creation of great music for years to come,” said mAcdonald. “It has already inspired songwriters from across the nation. We want it to be a mecca for creative minds—and that means everyone. We believe that people who write music, love music, or just occasionally listen to music will all feel at home here. Everyone is welcome.”
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