Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Music · A mission for Bliss
. . . .

A mission for Bliss

Kristi Kates - April 25th, 2011
A Mission for Bliss: New recreation center will energize Blissfest farm
By Kristi Kates
The Mission: To build and launch the Blissfest Arts Recreation Center, a
facility for cultural, recreational, and sustainable living experiences,
to be enjoyed in a quiet natural setting.
The Man: Jim Gillespie, Blissfest’s founder and executive director, and a
well-known character to anyone familiar with the Blissfest scene.
Gillespie is leading the charge to make the Blissfest Arts Recreation
Center a reality, with Emmet County granting Blissfest a Special Use
Permit, and the Blissfest Music Organization embarking on a major capital
campaign. The process is just getting underway on this ambitious building
project that is taking place on Blissfest’s 120-acre property just east of
Cross Village.
Included in the project will be a 7,200 square foot multi-use, year-round
assembly building; a multi-use administration and greenhouse facility; 10
resort cabins and 35 permanent campsites.
Gillespie explains that the main focuses of the center will be a trifecta
of complementary ideals.
“Our vision is to combine cultural, agricultural, and ecological
experiences at the new recreation center,” Gillespie says, “’Sustainable
Tourism’ is the buzzword that incorporates this concept. From the
beginning, the Blissfest organization’s values have included not only
preserving and promoting music and dance, but also being good stewards of
the land we are entrusted with, and preserving a sense of community.”

OUTDOOR POWER
Part of that stewardship means that Blissfest will be utilizing nature to
help power much of the center naturally, aiming at covering 40% of the new
complex’s energy needs with a residential wind turbine and solar panels.
“We are committed to low-impact, sustainable practices in the construction
and operation of the new facility,” Gillespie confirms.
He further explains that construction materials will be sourced locally,
and that the designs for the center itself will include traditional and
innovative sustainable concepts.
“We will use wind and solar energy to provide power to the new
facilities,” he says, “for example, folks will be able to experience
off-the-grid living when they stay in the new cabins.”
Gardens and orchards, a gate house, and a camp store are also part of the
bigger picture, but will arrive a bit later in the schedule; for starters,
Gillespie says, they’re finishing up an earlier remodel.
“We’re progressing into phase one of construction which will include
completion of our farmhouse remodel project, construction of the permanent
rustic campground, and construction of two cabins and a gazebo in 2011,”
he confirms.

HERITAGE HAPPENINGS
So other than the buildings and facilities themselves, just what will be
happening at the Bliss Recreation Center? Plenty, according to Gillespie.
The center will be placing “special emphasis” on cultural heritage, with
performances, dances, and arts and crafts workshops, plus general
recreational activities like hiking, camping, and gardening, with everyone
encouraged to pitch in to maintain the whole works.
Educational programs and workshops in building, renewable energy, and
sustainable farming will also be made available as time goes on.
Gillespie, as would be expected given his other role as overseer of the
yearly Blissfest music event, is perhaps most looking forward, he says, to
the music-themed activities.
“I look forward to artists recording new songs in our solar-powered cabins
with a built-in recording studio,” he begins, “having regular community
concerts and dances during the summer in our new solar pavilion; hanging
out and jamming with friends in the campground. I also look forward to the
expanded use of the festival farm, with small groups able to enjoy
hands-on, cross-generational activities that provide a holistic
experience; working in the gardens and orchards for a weekend, harvesting
agricultural products with our ‘BlissFeast’ label - there are so many
possibilities it is hard to list them all.”

SUPPORT THE CAUSE
With the Center in such early stages, Gillespie explains that celebratory
and opening festivities will arrive in phases.
“We’ll start doing some activities in 2011,” he says, “for example, we are
planning an Earth Day/Arbor Day Planting Weekend on April 29-30, where we
will plant 50 fruit trees and 50 blueberries and have a workshop on how to
grow mushrooms. But I have not even thought of a grand opening - I think
that is in the future when we have more infrastructure built, like the
Solar Pavilion and the greenhouse/crafts building.”
The project is still seeking donations and funding for the larger goals,
“but the current economic climate seems to have had an impact,” Gillespie
says, and donations have been slow to arrive.
“So we will build as we have the support and come up with the resources. I
see the project in phases evolving over the next five years, so we may
have multiple ‘grand openings,’” he smiles.
Most importantly, Gillespie says, is to develop the center as a resource
for people to experience music, community, and learning at a beautiful
outdoor locale.
“We want to grow local food crops and bring them to the local market,” he
enthuses, “we want to spin the electric meter backwards into the future.
We want people to create culture and sustain community. Life is Bliss,
life is art.”

More info on Blissfest and on the new Bliss Recreation Center, as well as
ways to help the cause, may be found online at
www.blissfest.org/retreat-center.html. Blissfest may also be reached via
Blissfest Music Organization, 2000 M-119, Petoskey, MI 49770, telephone
231-348-7047. 
 

 
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