From Manitou To Microbrew
By Kristi Kates | June 10, 2017
From Blissfest to Farmfest, Manitou to Microbrew: It’s time again for northern Michigan’s summer music festivals to roll out their respective red carpets for tunes, food, drink, dancing, and other diversions. Join us, won’t you?
BAY VIEW MUSIC FESTIVAL – June 18–August 13
Bay View Campus, Petoskey
TUNES: The three big shows at Bay View this summer are the triple threat of American a cappella outfit Home Free; country singer-songwriter Logan Brill; and piano-folk-rocker Bruce Hornsby, who’s shared the stage with everyone from his own bands, The Range and The Noisemakers, to The Grateful Dead. Gospel-rockers Tenth Avenue North, and the Sunday Pops Concerts round out the series.
DIVERSIONS: Two big stage play productions also will take the Bay View stage this year: the opera Carmen, and a modernized take on Pippin.
TICKETS: Priced individually by show
INTERLOCHEN ARTS FESTIVAL – June 27–August 19
Interlochen Center for the Arts
TUNES: Summer is barely long enough to hold all of the concerts Interlochen has to offer, but the wee arts mecca in the woods is gonna try. Interlochen welcomes Marc Broussard on June 27, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs June 28, and David Letterman’s longtime bandleader, Paul Shaffer, and his World’s Most Dangerous Band with special guest vocalist Valerie Simpson. Other highlights to watch for include innovative indie-rockers OK Go, legendary Motown singer Diana Ross, folk singer-songwriter Amos Lee, and hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa.
DIVERSIONS: An impressive slate of instrumental and classical performances are also included in the Interlochen schedule every summer.
TICKETS: Priced individually by show
BIG TICKET FESTIVAL – June 21–24
Otsego County Fairgrounds, Gaylord
TUNES: 60 artists over four days make up this very big ticket that showcases the best of faith-based music, including performances from Memphis rock band Skillet; catchy Aussie pop duo For King and Country; hip-hop/rap artist George Moss; alternative rockers Remedy Drive from Lincoln, Nebraska; and festival favorite Chris Tomlin, who’s headlining on Saturday night.
DIVERSIONS: Take a break from rocking out over the weekend with the 5K run, a fun zone with giant inflatable games, and performing artist Q&A sessions.
TICKETS: One day tickets start at $39, full festival passes start at $95.
BLISSFEST – July 7–9
Bliss Festival Farm, Harbor Springs
TUNES: Grammy Award-winning East L.A. band Los Lobos are at the top of the Bliss bill this year, with a hot list of acts right behind them, including reggae-folk-fusion artist Michael Franti and Spearhead, and questionably humorous Russian-American variety music act, the Red Elvises, plus a plethora of Michigan musicians like Blake Elliott, Biomassive, Brotha James, E Minor, Dixon’s Violin, and The Detroit Party Marching Band.
DIVERSIONS: Plenty of Woodstock-like side activities including drum circles, artisan crafts, noodle-dancing, workshops, and face painting.
TICKETS: Non–member weekend wristband prices start at $170, day non-camping bands start at $50.
FARMFEST – August 10-13
Stacy Jo's Farm, 20 miles east of Gaylord
TUNES: Old favorites like Dr. Goodhart’s Home Remedy, Drew Nelson, and the Midnight Blues Journey team up with Michigan acts like May Erlewine, The Honorable Spirits, Jack and the Bear, Oh Brother Big Sister, The Rupple Brothers, The Seth Bernard Trio, and Olivia Mainville. Together, they’ll welcome in touring performances from soul-funk singer-songwriter Alex Mendenall and Maticic, the music project of Detroit singer Mark Pierce.
DIVERSIONS: The Feedbag Cafe’s got all the food and drinks you’ll need, and you can work it all off with morning yoga sessions and late-night dancing.
TICKETS: Daily tickets start at $90
HOXEYVILLE – August 18–20
Wellston (Hoxeyville's dedicated site)
TUNES: Hot newgrass outfit The Sam Bush Band, funky R&B singer Charles Bradley, and bluegrass-rock band Greensky Bluegrass anchor this year’s Hoxey lineup, which also will include sets from “The Voice” finalist Joshua Davis, The Crane Wives, Traverse City favorite-turned-Nashville export Billy Strings, May Erlewine, and The Go Rounds, in a festive atmosphere that’s all Hoxeyville’s own.
DIVERSIONS: The festival offers its own camping so you can immerse yourself the entire weekend, or you can camp offsite at several other options.
TICKETS: General admission starts at $50 for a day pass, $155 for the weekend with camping.
FESTIVAL ON THE BAY – August 18–19
Petoskey Waterfront Park
TUNES: Dance and groove right next to Little Traverse Bay at this favorite local event. The main performance this year arrives from funky headliners Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers; additional sets will feature tunes from The Pistil Whips, Anchors 4 Reality, Galactic Sherpas, and summertime stalwarts The Jelly Roll Blues Band, whose appearance each year solidifies the summer season for locals and returning tourists.
DIVERSIONS: Lots of other activities round out the fest’s schedule, from an art show and fun run to a cardboard boat race and food vendors.
TICKETS: Admission to the entertainment tent is $5 per person.
TC MICROBREW AND MUSIC FESTIVAL – August 11–12
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City
TUNES: This year’s main stage is taking an eclectic turn with headliners including the Flam Chen New Circus and Fire Theater, uber-original Mike Silverman, aka That1Guy, who combines a magic act with his tunes. Also performing are beatboxer Heatbox, May Erlewine and the Motivations, Biomassive, G-Snacks, and The Lucas Paul band, and record-spinners DJ Dominate and DJ Abilities.
DIVERSIONS: Microbrews from both local brewers and downstate imports plus food from local vendors keep you fueled for the live shows and dancing in the silent disco.
TICKETS: General admission tickets start at $45.