Everything from bluegrass to folk to reggae is sure to please even the most hardnosed music listener.
There is a tradition of sorts with the festival, but those who frequent Dunegrass might be surprised by a few changes made this summer. 1992 was probably the first one that we did, but my husband (Mike) does not like to call it annual in case we cant do it anymore. We had to move to M-22 from near M-72 where we were, so now were behind the St. Philip Neri Church and we have overnight camping this year, says co-director of the festival Carol Vanderberg.
The whole intent of the festival is to feature local music as Vanderberg states. All the bands are from Michigan except one, which, according to Vanderberg is known as White Chocolate and the Topless Manskirt Revolution (yikes).
Gates to the festival grounds open at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 6 with music starting soon after. A trio of eclectic bands will be performing on this first evening. We have three bands on Friday night, Vanderberg says. Deedle - Edle and Beyond Potato Salad will play. Beyond Potato Salad are really wonderful. They are going to do a little mellow thing this year. We also have the Jah Kings. The Jah Kings are a Kalamazoo-based reggae outfit.
Saturday is the main day of the festival that includes music starting at 10 a.m. with two hours of open mic, then performances by Cheri and the Violators, Bruce Irwin, Jay Webber and Blueswater, with an extra special guest rounding out the afternoon entertainment. After a dinner break, the music begins again with Ion Quest, Greensky Bluegrass and Grasshoppah. K. Jones and the Benzie Playboyz were originally scheduled to close the festival but recently cancelled, so a back-up is being located.
Greensky Bluegrass is a favorite in the area and is well-liked for their acoustic music that shows hints of bluegrass founder Bill Monroes style, along with jazz and reggae roots. Grasshoppah is a folk/blues/bluegrass trio that might be the most unusual and interesting act of the night. The band features a lead vocalist and guitarist who plays the drums with his feet using a number of contraptions and pedals, and can also perform harmonica solos.
But music is not all there is to offer. On Saturday we are going to have a kids tent from 12-4 p.m. There will be face painting and chalk drawing and ice blocks to slip and slide on. We have food vendors and arts and crafts. Lots of good food. And the BATA bus will be there to take people to the beach because we are really close, Vanderberg adds. We have a visitor tent but bring a lawnchair or blanket if you want to sit out in the sun. Otherwise everything is provided, including porta-potties and security, she says.
Tickets to the Dunegrass festival can be purchased at Deerings Market in Empire, Cedar City Market, East Shore Market in Beulah, Kejaras Bridge in Leelanau, Oryana Natural Foods in Traverse City and Leelanau Coffee Roasters of Glen Arbor. They can also be purchased using a credit card by calling 231-326-5287. The cost is $20 for adults with an extra $5 per person if camping overnight. Children 12 and under are free.
Saturday-only tickets are also available for $15.
To get to the festival, take M-22 or M-72 to Empire, then follow the signs which lead to the grounds on the north side of town.