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NOTE: Not all Steel Bridge performers (roughly half) participate in the Construction Zone.


The Construction Zone is an event specifically for songwriters. It involves a week of collaborative songwriting, recording, and performing with a purpose in mind.

We begin Sunday with a meet-and-greet dinner for all writers. After dinner we play "Spin the Bottle" to form collaborative groups. Writers are encouraged (but not required) to write songs loosely based around the metaphor or reality of a steel bridge.

The Bridge-with-a-capital-B has long been a potent metaphor in popular song.
The Steel Bridge is a great symbol of strength and of joining together,
the melding of diverse cultures, divergent views, the old and the new, the words and the music,
the tangible and the intangible.
The word “bridge” doesn’t need to be used in expressing thoughts and emotions inspired
by the presence of a steel span. The connection need not be conscious. It just happens.

Many of the writers stay at the Holiday Motel, located by the bridge in lovely downtown Sturgeon Bay. This is also where most of the recording takes place.

As much as we'd LIKE to be able to provide accommodations for everyone for the week, we are limited to the 18 rooms at the Holiday. Please do not assume that we can house you for the week unless specific arrangements have been made. We are happy to help to try to find other options for you if our resources are tapped. We DO want to try to make this as open and welcoming as possible for all that want to be involved!!

Monday begins three intensive days of songwriting. Motel rooms, coffee shops around town, the waterside, any place writers want to go write is part of the Construction Zone. There are two full recording studios and two smaller studios operating 24/7 with full-time engineers for documenting songs.

Every night after dinner and before Spin the Bottle, there's a listening session for recordings and a round robin for all attendees, where writers play for each other the new songs they've written.

Thursday begins a four-day series of concerts in various bars and other venues around town, all within walking distance of the motel, where attendees and some local/regional bands play longer sets. These shows are open to the public.

Steel Bridge Songfest climaxes Saturday afternoon/early evening with the “Take It To The Bridge!” concert at the foot of the bridge (indoors if raining). This draws roughly 5,000-7,000 people. A set of songs written in The Construction Zone is performed on the festival stage by the writers. Every writer in attendance is encouraged to get on stage for at least a song. Sunday afternoon provides one last day of outdoor concerts at the foot of the bridge (indoors if raining). The Saturday and Sunday outdoor concerts are free to the public. All are encouraged to come and enjoy the finest entertainment in the Midwest.

The Construction Zone subsists entirely on voluntary donations of cash and labor. Each year, people’s energy and contributions surpass our expectations. The overwhelming success can be attributed to the massive generosity of the musicians, the weather, and the ass-busting enthusiasm of many locals.

Along with the Bridge (please explore this website for more information on the long, successful battle to save her), music-and-song is the heart and soul of Steel Bridge. In appreciation for this, every songwriter is an honored guest and will be treated as such. Each is invited for the special gift he or she brings to the mix. Unlike some other songwriting events, there are no attendance fees and no division between amateur and professional writers.

And you retain full ownership of your contribution to songs written at the event. If your song is chosen to appear on a “Steel Bridge Songs" CD, you contribute only your performance as an artist (we can’t pay session fees) but you retain full ownership of your share of the song. (Contributing your mechanical royalties to the Steel Bridge Fund is appreciated, but optional!)

Local volunteers provide free continental breakfast (8am ‘til NOON), light lunch, and evening dinner for all three writing days. Other basic needs are within walking distance, but a local shuttle is provided for special consideration, emergencies and such.

SBSF might be able to help with other transportation, but due to the volunteer nature of the event, attendees are responsible for their own airfares, bus tickets, etc. to and from Sturgeon Bay. If you are flying in to Green Bay, however, please send us your flight info and we’ll arrange to pick you up!

It's always a lot of fun. And great songs come out of it. And you’re helping a small community.

Not a bad way to spend a few days..

melaniejane is our Construction Zone liaison and coordinator.
You can email her with any questions, comments, concerns at:

Thanks for your interest in attending!

-pat mAcdonald,
Steel Bridge Host, Co-founder, Creative Director

please let us know if you plan on returning by sending a message to melaniejane:
any questions as well.... she'll be glad to help! :)