A sure sign of summer is the outdoor concerts at the legendary Mishawaka Amphitheater and restaurant/bar, a small and intimate concert venue nestled on the banks of the Poudre River about 25 miles up the Poudre Canyon Northwest of Fort Collins, Colo.

With a compact and rustic setting, the shows are on an outdoor stage that is high above the crowd making it difficult for those in front to see the performers. If you are adverse to marijuana, know that Colorado has legalized it and here, you will get a contact high. If you suffer from digital withdrawal, know there is no cell service or Wi-Fi. Barbaric, I know. My last time there was for Dr. John a few years back. Other shows have been fine, with usually third tier bands or artists past their top draw prime. That is no comment on their talent or quality of show, but these are not arena acts.

Parking is $40 to discourage parking and encourage you to take the $15 shuttle. If there’s room, you can park on the side of the road and walk for a few minutes as well.

The outdoor deck overlooks the river and makes you wish you had brought your fly rod. The scenery is beautiful in the bottom of the canyon. The wait staff and food seems to vary with who’s punched in. Personally, I’ve had good servers, others may disagree.

If you get food, Check the Yelp reviews: “We had a $52 bill (before tip) for two over- cooked burgers served on burnt bread complete with wilted garnish, cold and limp fries and beer served out of a PLASTIC cup....all presented in a garish plastic basket. My jaw dropped when I saw the bill. I politely asked why our beers cost $7 each and the waitress waved it off to 'delivery' prices making things cost more. $52 for two beers and two burgers?! Yeah right... we ate 15 miles further up the canyon at Echo Resort the week prior and had perfectly cooked burgers and icy beer served out of cold mugs with a bill no more than $25.”

Another said: “I had a burrito, it was like half the size of a normal burrito, and it was $18!!!! It was supposed to be smothered in green chili...but it was slightly drizzled with it at best.”

As for drinks: “Really like this place, but NO excuse for a $7 IPA in a plastic cup (only 45 min from the brewery).”

With 18 shows scheduled, next up is for Saturday, June 11 it’s Trevor Hall, Dead Floyd on June 17 with more events scheduled and on Facebook.At one point, we almost lost the venue to fire. Saving The Mish from the High Park fire three years ago.

In this video tour that is shakier than the global economy, you can get a sense of The Mish.

Wikipedia includes: “It is currently owned by Dani Grant, who bought it in 2010 from Robin Jones. Jones bought it in 1991 "to keep it from being torn down and turned into a parking lot," but was forced to sell it after being caught with 280 pounds of marijuana.” That was before it was legal.

All of this said, good and bad, I can't wait to go back, with good friends, who know who they are.

Steve Cooper