WESTBROOK – Two members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be performing in Westbrook on Thursday, July 5, when Hot Tuna takes the stage for an acoustic show at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center on Stroudwater Street at 7:30 p.m.

Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are the founders of Hot Tuna, and both were enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as members of the group Jefferson Airplane. Hot Tuna is touring behind “Steady as She Goes,” the group’s first studio album in 20 years.

Jamie Grant, the general manager of the Westbrook Performing Arts Center, said that tickets still remain from the show, and he is looking forward to welcoming the performers to their first-ever show in Westbrook, though he added that Hot Tuna is no stranger to Maine, as the band has played Portland in the past.

“It’s a great show,” Grant said.

Having larger acts like Hot Tuna come to the two-year-old Westbrook Performing Arts Center, located at Westbrook Middle School, is part of a strategy to bring in a wide variety of audiences and spread the word about the center’s value as a performing arts venue in the greater Portland area.

“I think (having acts like Hot Tuna) is a good thing overall,” Grant said. “The thing I enjoy about it is that it increases our visibility.”

While the summer is traditionally a slow time for venues like the Performing Arts Center, Grant said, he is still working on filling the fall schedule. Since the center is nonprofit and supported with taxpayer money, Grant can’t go out and pay for shows to come to Westbrook, but he is having increasing success getting promoters to return and rent the facility for events.

Grant said he believed that this year was the best year for the center, with a diverse lineup of events that included a body-building contest, lectures, a ballet with a full orchestra and more. Grant said that the best thing was that the presenters of those events were so happy with their experience at the center that they have already made plans to return.

“That (event) retention will really make us grow,” Grant said.


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