Letters

Letters 09-07-2015

DEJA VUE Traverse City faces the same question as faced by Ann Arbor Township several years ago. A builder wanted to construct a 250-student Montessori school on 7.78 acres. The land was zoned for suburban residential use. The proposed school building was permissible as a “conditional use.”

The Court Overreached Believe it or not, everyone who disagrees with the court’s ruling on gay marriage isn’t a hateful bigot. Some of us believe the Supreme Court simply usurped the rule of law by legislating from the bench...

Some Diversity, Huh? Either I’ve been misled or misinformed about the greater Traverse City area. I thought that everyone there was so ‘all inclusive’ and open to other peoples’ opinions and, though one may disagree with said person, that person was entitled to their opinion(s)...

Defending Good People I was deeply saddened to read Colleen Smith’s letter [in Aug. 24 issue] regarding her boycott of the State Theater. I know both Derek and Brandon personally and cannot begin to understand how someone could express such contempt for them...

Not Fascinating I really don’t understand how you can name Jada Johnson a fascinating person by being a hunter. There are thousands of hunters all over the world, shooting by gun and also by arrow; why is she so special? All the other people listed were amazing...

Back to Mayberry A phrase that is often used to describe the amiable qualities that make Traverse City a great place to live is “small-town charm,” conjuring images of life in 1940s small-town America. Where everyone in Mayberry greets each other by name, job descriptions are simple enough for Sarah Palin to understand, and milk is delivered to your door...

Don’t Be Threatened The August 31 issue had 10 letters(!) blasting a recent writer for her stance on gay marriage and the State Theatre. That is overkill. Ms. Smith has a right to her opinion, a right to comment in an open forum such as Northern Express...

Treat The Sickness Thank you to Grant Parsons for the editorial exposing the uglier residual of the criminalizing of drug use. Clean now, I struggled with addiction for a good portion of my adult life. I’ve never sold drugs or committed a violent crime, but I’ve been arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned. This did nothing but perpetuate shame, alienation, loss and continued use...

About A Girl -- Not Consider your audience, Thomas Kachadurian (“About A Girl” column). Preachy opinion pieces don’t change people’s minds. Example: “My view on abortion changed…It might be time for the rest of the country to catch up.” Opinion pieces work best when engaging the reader, not directing the reader...

Disappointed I am disappointed with the tone of many of the August 31 responses to Colleen Smith’s Letter to the Editor from the previous week. I do not hold Ms. Smith’s opinion; however, if we live in a diverse community, by definition, people will hold different views, value different things, look and act different from one another...

Free Will To Love I want to start off by saying I love Northern Express. It is well written, unbiased and always a pleasure to read. I am sorry I missed last month’s article referred to in the Aug. 24 letter titled, “No More State Theater.”

Home · Articles · News · Music · The Dunegrass & Blues Fest makes...
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The Dunegrass & Blues Fest makes its bid for the big time

Robert Downes - July 21st, 2008
What do Arlo Guthrie, Ritchie Havens, Bela Fleck and Buckethead have in common?
A destination: The stars of folk, roots and rock are all coming to perform at the Dunegrass & Blues Festival this July 31-Aug. 3, along with an estimated 6,000 concert-goers per day.
At least, that’s the hope of impresario Stephen Volas of Grassroots Productions, who is counting on a good turnout as a reward for bringing the best roster of entertainers yet to the 16th annual incarnation of the festival in the Village of Empire.
“The Dunegrass is spending $350,000 on artistic talent this year, and that’s a lot of money to take a chance on, so I’m really hoping that people will come out and support the festival,” he says.
This year, the Dunegrass is hosting roughly 75 acts, with other big hitters including Steel Pulse, Todd Snider, Harry Manx, Donna the Buffalo and a wide range of regional favorites.
In addition to supersizing its roster, the Dunegrass is also expanding its layout: In addition to a main stage, there will be a new dance tent, with stages on each end. “The dance tent stages will be 60 by 200 feet long and located about 650 feet from the main stage,” Volas says. “It will be a good place to cool off in the day and a great place to dance at night.”

ROUGH SPOTS
Upsizing the Dunegrass has been nerve-wracking at times for Volas. This spring, he had some concerns that the festival would be upstaged by the huge Rothbury Festival south of Ludington. “I was a little worried about competing with Rothbury, but I went down to the festival and everything has turned out fine. I think the Dunegrass has enough different performers to draw its own crowd.”
Another concern is an injunction being sought by a neighbor at the 35-acre festival site that’s located just north of Empire. The festival is close enough to the village that you can walk to the beach or local restaurants and shops.
“The festival has been hugely well-received by Empire and the village wants us to stay,” Volas says.
But the continuing expansion of the festival means that the Dunegrass may be held on a 60-acre site near Empire’s airport next year, with a potential of having 150 acres total for camping and parking.
In the meantime, Volas is trying to head-off concerns over congestion at this year’s event. “The thing we’re doing this year to counterbalance the traffic and camping congestion is offering both at an area that’s offsite from the festival,” he says. “We’re also expanding our shuttle bus service to get people to and from the site.”

HIGHLIGHTS
The prestige of the Dunegrass is clearly on rise, as evidenced by the fact that Volas is now being contacted by top performers -- such as Arlo Guthrie, Ritchie Havens and Bela Fleck -- with requests to perform at the festival.
He’s also tweaked what has traditionally been a folk and blues festival with some new directions, including the rock and jam-band sound of Buckethead, who performs in a mask with a KFC bucket on his head. “I really think that Buckethead is going to be the most eccentric artist we’ve ever had,” Volas says.
“Our reggae selections are also going to be great with Steel Pulse and the Meditations,” he adds. “And this year we’re also featuring several amazing female acts with Grace Potter, Donna and the Buffalo, Jill Jack and Rachel Davis. Sunday will be more of a roots, bluegrass and folk day.”
Other innovations will include a mist tent, a Human Rights Awareness Tour fashion show, a Kids Tent, and a “Green Ticket,” with $1 of each going to support environmental causes.
For the future, Volas is considering holding the festival in the second week of August next year. The Dunegrass has always been held the first weekend in August, but that coincides with the TC Film Festival and also tends to be the hottest weekend of the year.
Whatever the case, he’s seen steady growth in the festival over the past couple of years. In 2006, the Dunegrass had just $20,000 in online ticket sales, a figure that increased to $150,000 last year. “We’ve seen some great increases but are still encouraging people to buy their tickets in advance if they want a discount over the price at the gate.”

Weekend and single-day Dunegrass passes are available at www.dunegrassfestival.com




 
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