By Kristi Kates
This years roster of Michigan music fests is another good one with
many of the events either local or just a short drive from Up North to
an amazingly eclectic selection of music and fun.
Theres no Rothbury this year (the festival organizers blamed the
cancellation on scheduling conflicts from the bands/performers they
were planning to put on the roster) - a disappointment to those who
were glad to have a near-Bonnaroo-level event just north of Grand
Rapids - but there are still a lot of other impressively organized
events that you wont want to miss. From free to reasonable in price,
theres a fest to visit every month, often more than one to choose
from - so heres our rundown of the festival offerings for summer
Spirit of the Woods Folk Festival
Dickson Township Park, Brethren
Saturday, June 19 www.spiritofthewoods.org
A small but sincere fest thats been running since 1978, this is their
33rd happening at the Dickson Township Park in Brethren, located in
northern Manistee County, and will include two stages plus a closing
dance alongside food and a wide variety of arts and crafts vendors.
This years lineup will feature Detroit-via-Arkansas blues
guitarist/singer Glemie Beasley and his Downhome Blues Band;
multi-cultural fusion band Red Sea Pedestrians; Michigans own Orpheum
Bell with their unique country and Eastern sound; and
acoustic-variety band An Dro, among others.
Tickets: free (donations accepted).
Elberta Solstice Festival
Waterfront Park, Elberta
Saturday, June 19 (See related article)
Big Ticket Festival
Otsego County Fairgrounds, Gaylord
Thursday-Saturday, June 24-26
With over 100 bands, thats like .89 cents per band! runs the tag
line for this Christian rock fest that aims to help people Live God
Loud by supplying plenty of positive-focused music, speakers, sports,
and refreshments to make for a festival of fun and harmony. This
years event includes big-ticket Christian acts like Casting Crowns,
DecembeRadio, The Devil Wears Prada, and Newsboys alongside
lesser-known acts like Reilly, Remedy Drive, and 33 Miles.
Tickets: one-day passes start at $35, two-day passes start at $65,
three-day passes start at $89; ticket prices go up depending on days
chosen and the closer you get to the event.
Bliss Festival Farm, Bliss MI
Friday-Sunday, July 9-11 www.blissfest.org
Blissfest hits 30 this year, with its reputation as one of the best
folk and roots music festivals in both Michigan and the Midwest
holding strong. A concert event, dance, friends meetup, and camping
destination, Blissfest has it all, including activities like
workshops, a large crafts vendor area, and eclectic outdoor-dining
Performers at this years Blissfest are slated to include headliners
Richie Havens and John Hiatt, plus the likes of bluegrass-rappers The
Deadly Gentlemen, Detroit blues diva Thornetta Davis, Australian
transplant Harper, Ann Arbors My Dear Disco, world music from
Funkadesi, and local favorite Claudia Schmidt. And what would
Blissfest be without random drum circles, cookouts, and guitar jams?
Tickets: weekend adult tickets are $80 in advance, $95 at the gate;
daily tickets start at $30; camping is extra.
Beaver Island Music Festival
Westside Road, Beaver Island MI
Thursday-Saturday, July 15-17
Be prepared for some rugged traveling to get to this particular
festival - the island is only accessible by boat or small plane. But
once youre there, the fests shuttle service will trek you around for
a small fee so you can take in the best of the events music, art,
vendors, camping, and renewable energy goals. This summers musical
offerings include Blue Water Ramblers, Dave Boutette, Midtown
Underground, Fundubmentals, and The Disciples of Funk; just keep in
mind that youll have to make your own arrangements for transportation
to the island itself.
Tickets: weekend pass, $50 advance, $55 at the gate, camping is extra;
ferry or plane tickets can also be purchased via the website.
Woodtick festival grounds, Hermansville, MI
Thursday-Saturday, July 29-August 1
Although were still wondering why they named the festival over a
disease-carrying insect, the Woodtick Fest is nonetheless a good
reason to trek up to the U.P. for a camping trip with a bonus of great
rootsy music. The Woodtick Grill (with its campsite delivery service),
Tacoville, and Kavanaugh Kitchen supply the food, while the likes of
Bad Axe Rodeo, Rockslide, Billy Martin and the Blasters, Bordertown,
Norton and Chartier, and Cosmic Bob supply the music.
Tickets: four-day pass $35 advance purchase, $45 at the gate.
Dunegrass & Blues Festival
M72 6 miles east of Empire
Friday-Sunday, August 6-8
This years Dunegrass, newly revitalized yet again after surviving a
mess of financial difficulties and promotion conflicts, is back at
three days, complete with camping and food/craft vendors. The theme of
this years event is getting back to Dunegrass roots, and with that
in mind, many of the acts are Michigan-based. Among the performers in
general this year will be Graham Parsons and the Go-Rounds, Greensky
Bluegrass, Contradance, Rootstand, Macpodz, and Josh Davis.
Tickets: start at $59.95 for early bird tickets; camping is an
additional $25 per car at the gate.
Farmfest grounds on Roby Road, Johannesburg
Thursday-Saturday, August 12-15
There may not be actual cows at FarmFest, but their motto is
Mooosical Magic Till the Cows Come Home - by which you can expect a
plethora of music plus fire circle jams, Parkin Lot Pickin, an
open mic, a harmonica contest, and of course the food and workshops,
too. For this years event, sets will be performed by Dave Boutette,
Orpheum Bell, Kirby, Madcat and Kane Trio, Rootstand, Wayward Roots,
Galactic Sherpas, The FunDubMentals, and the Wild Uke String Band,
among plenty of others.
Tickets: free, although a donation of $10-55 is suggested (but not
required) to help support the weekend event.
Mackinac Island Music Festival
Various venues around the island
Tuesday-Thursday, August 17-19
Once again taking place at a variety of Mackinac Island venues,
attendees of this 3-day-long celebration of music will be able to
fortify themselves with a wide variety of Americana food; relax by
viewing a screen of the movie, Festival Express, featuring the music
of The Band, Traffic, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin; and then
get dancin at a range of live shows, from Jazz Night with the Alex
Graham Quartet to live shows by DC Malone, Billy Brandt, Michelle
Chenard, The Forbes Brothers, and Chordiology.
Tickets: events are priced individually and start at $10 for the music
Hoxeyville Music Festival
West of Kestlewoods Campground on M37
Friday-Sunday, August 20-22
Set in the peaceful Manistee National Forest west of Cadillac (with a
convenient extra campground just down the road for overflow),
Hoxeyvilles weekend fest community will offer a Vendor Village with a
focus on organic and fair-trade products to set the tone for the
musical events, which this year will feature live sets from The Rhythm
Devils (featuring Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart of The Grateful
Dead), Keller Williams, Cornmeal, Frontier Ruckus, and Steppin In It.
Tickets $89 advance, $99 general admission, $199 RV, $200 VIP, $350
VIP RV; tickets include camping.
Traverse City Microbrew & Music Fest
Front Lawn at The Grand Traverse Commons
Featuring 45 Michigan & National Breweries & entertainment by Brett Dennen, Ozomatli, Lubriphonic, Mike Moran, Bump, Levi Britton and many more.
Wheatland Music Festival
Wheatland festival grounds, Remus, MI
Friday-Sunday, September 10-12
The last gasp of the 2010 Michigan summer music fest season takes
place in Remus at the Wheatland event, which makes room for over
30,000 people and includes camping, workshops, arts and crafts, and of
course a wide range of food vendors.
The 37th Annual Wheatlands stages will include performances from Red
Sea Pedestrians, old time string band Big Medicine, bluegrass from
Jeff and Vida Band, gospel from The Paschall Brothers, Joel Mabus
Americana music, and cajun tunes from BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet.
Tickets: weekend tickets start at $65, Sunday-only tickets are $20.