Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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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