Takes a Giant Leap Forward
By Rick Coates 8/17/09
In a year that has seen a record number of music festivals in Northern Michigan, the Hoxeyville Music Festival, located near Wellston (between Cadillac and Ludington), hopes to stand out by blending international superstars with regional favorites to attract a couple of thousand festival goers.
The growing music festival scene in Northern Michigan has become very competitive over the years since Blissfest paved the way 30 years ago. From Memorial Day to Labor Day more than 40 music festivals will take place. Attendance has been light at some, as many festivals offer the same musicians and bands.
I looked at a lot of these music festivals and my wife and I usually go to one every weekend, but I noticed they were all having the same bands, said Paul Caruthers of Honor. I like a lot of these local bands, but I do not need to see the same bands every weekend.
While Hoxeyville will offer several bands from the area that have been making the summer festival circuit, they hope that having international acts will make a difference, including five-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy and New Orleans jazz and funk jam band Galactic, along with jazz guitar legend Bill Frisell.
THIS IS THE ONE
It is a hefty price tag at $125 per person, but my girlfriend and I skipped a few other festivals to go to this one, said Caruthers. We felt the talent and eclectic nature of the festival made this one festival we couldnt miss.
That is music to the ears of organizers as they host their seventh annual festival on a 75-acre farm nestled deep within the Manistee National Forest.
We have already pre-sold twice as many tickets as last year, said Jake Robinson, festival organizer. This is definitely a major increase in the ticket price from previous years, but the quality of acts is there to warrant this ticket price.
As for the competition with other festivals, that is why Robinson moved Hoxeyville from the last weekend of July to this weekend.
We were nestled in between Dunegrass and Rothbury. Well, Rothbury is a high-ticket event and with our audience being similar to theirs, we decided to move weekends, said Robinson. Based on the pre-sale tickets, it appears to be a good idea.
Robinson said they are also looking to expand their audience, not just in size, but demographically.
We are in a good location between Grand Rapids and Traverse City, so we are marketing heavy in both of those communities, said Robinson. But we also wanted to expand the scope of our audience and we looked at a lot of different headliners to do that and Buddy Guy seemed like a perfect fit. The jam band guys all love him and he attracts a different audience than we have been attracting up to this point. We really feel that if someone has been thinking about our festival, but hasnt made it in the past, with this line up we have assembled we have given them a reason to check us out.
BLUES GUITAR LEGEND
Buddy Guy has a track record for selling out venues. The blues guitar legend is one of the fathers of the Chicago blues sound and inspired the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend and The Rolling Stones. A few years back he sold out Interlochen, and at the Turtle Creek Blues Festival he attracted 5,000 fans.
Guy plays a blistering guitar, probably why Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him 30th on their all-time list of greatest guitarists. He is equally known for his showmanship on stage, and for that matter no Buddy Guy concert is complete without the blues legend wandering into the audience to play his guitar. Guy will headline the festival Saturday night.
Stage Setup: Hoxeyville will boast two stages of national touring artists as well as a third stage featuring the best and brightest talent from around Michigan. Next door is a campground with amenities including a swimming pool, showers, plug-ins, dump station and wireless Internet. The festival site will have a disc golf course and is located near various mountain biking trails and the Pine River. Kestelwoods restaurant, party store and campground is a convenient six minute walk from the festival grounds.
New to the Festival: New this year will be the addition of a beer tent, featuring handcrafted brews. Theres also a farmers market with local produce and baked goods.
Tickets and Additional Information: The Hoxeyville Music Festival will take place August 21-23. For additional information and to purchase advance tickets go to hoxeyville.com.