Super Summer Guide
The best of the music fests
By Kristi Kates | June 9, 2018
From the bays to the forests, the farms to the campuses, musicians of all varieties are rolling in to Michigan to take part in our summer music festivals. Here’s the rundown on some of the biggest acts pumping up the volume Up North for summer 2018
BAY VIEW MUSIC FESTIVAL – June 15–Aug. 16
Bay View Campus, Petoskey
MUSIC: A double shot of big-name pop-rock is at the top of the bill this summer at Bay View — namely concerts by Blues Traveler on July 27, and witty singer-songwriter Ben Folds on Aug. 4. In addition, campus visitors will be able to enjoy vesper concerts, chamber music, the sounds of the handbell choir, and an additional performance from the band Ranky Tanky, a jazz/R&B outfit led by American Idol finalist Quiana Parler.
MORE: Also on the Bay View stage this summer, you’ll find a couple full-blown productions: Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” (Aug. 2–3) and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (July 12-14).
TICKETS: Priced individually by show
BIG TICKET FESTIVAL – June 20–23
Otsego County Fairgrounds, Gaylord
MUSIC: It’s a big ticket for sure when it includes the many popular faith-based rockers, hip-hop artists, and country bands that flock to this positive-vibe fest. Expect big Christian music artists like Tenth Avenue North, Michael W. Smith, and Matthew West, plus Sanctus Real, Love and the Outcome, Sidewalk Prophets, Steven Malcolm, Shiny Penny, Random Hero, Family Force 5, Brothers Walker, and Saturday night headliner Toby Mac.
MORE: In between bands, check out some of the other on-site activities, including food vendors, a Kidz Zone, prayer tent, 5K run, and the BTF “experience tents,” where you can learn about a wide range of ministry experiences and opportunities.
TICKETS: One day tickets start at $49, full festival passes start at $129.
INTERLOCHEN ARTS FESTIVAL – June 28–August 28
Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen
MUSIC: As usual, Interlochen is bringing northern Michigan a full slate of wow-worthy shows. The summer show list begins Thursday, June 28, with An Evening with Yes (the ’70s prog-rock band) The schedule moves into the ’80s with Blondie on June 30; and continues through a wide range of genres with additional big-name performances from Parliament/Funkadelic (July 11), classic rockers Creedence Clearwater Revisited (July 12), rock violinist Lindsey Stirling (July 13), The Beach Boys (July 17), country singer Reba McEntire (July 24), indie-Americana band The Avett Brothers (Aug. 10), Steve Martin/Martin Short/The Steep Canyon Rangers (Aug. 11), and Jeff Daniels, with special guest The Ben Daniels Band (August 24).
MORE: Classical music, jazz, and musical theater performances are also presented in top-notch fashion at Interlochen each summer; make sure you check out their full schedule to see everything they have to offer.
TICKETS: Priced individually by show
BLISSFEST – July 13–15
Bliss Festival Farm, Bliss
MUSIC: Blissfest has three headliners each year, one for each night of the Bliss festival weekend. This year, the famed fest welcomes Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn (Friday), Mary Chapin Carpenter (Saturday), and Nahko and Medicine for the People (Sunday). But the music cranks out continuously all weekend long on several stages and includes sets from Harrow Fair, Ben Daniels, Luke Winslow King, May Erlewine, Red Sea Pedestrians, The North Carolines, Kobo Town, The Real Ingredients, and plenty of others.
MORE: Get your crafting and other rootsy activity fix at on-site workshops and gatherings that include drumming, face painting, healing arts, and more.
TICKETS: Non–member weekend wristband prices start at $175, day non-camping bands start at $55.
FARMFEST – Aug. 9-12
Stacy Jo's Farm (20 miles east of Gaylord)
MUSIC: Set on an actual farm, complete with a stage made of recycled barn wood and an on-site restaurant called the “Feedbag Cafe,” Farmfest has a down-home feel and music to match. The majority of the lineup are folk, Americana, bluegrass, and country, but you’ll also find sprinklings of hip-hop, funk, and rock as the fest increasingly accommodates a wide variety of attendees. This year’s roster will include sets from Banjo Mike Evans, The Bandura Gypsies, The Blue Water Ramblers, The Bootstrap Boys, Handsome Pete, The Change, The Jake Allen Band, Railcar Graffiti, Oh Brother Big Sister, and longtime local favorite Kirby.
MORE: Your weekend at the farm won’t be your average camping experience. In addition to all the music, you can also enjoy fresh organic foods, yoga in the morning, and dancing into the late night hours.
TICKETS: Weekend passes start at $85, daily passes start at $35.
HOXEYVILLE – Aug. 17–19
Wellston (Hoxeyville's dedicated site)
MUSIC: With a quirky variety of folk, rock, bluegrass/newgrass, singer-songwriters, and more, this fest often offers a shortlist of performers you won’t see at other festivals around northern Michigan, and this year’s roster is no exception. On the Hoxeyville stage you’ll find the likes of Dawes, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lindsay Lou, Luke Winslow King, The Crane Wives, Airborne or Aquatic, The Insider, Big Foot Buffalo, Herb and Hanson, and Traverse City export Billy Strings, visiting back Up North from Nashville.
MORE: Camp on-site for true music festival immersion, or camp off-site (there are several additional options) if you’d like a bit of a break from all the action.
TICKETS: Weekend passes for adults start at $145, $40 for kids.