We had such a great time at Blissfest near Cross Village in northern lower Michigan a few weekends back. We knew a lot of the musicians, many had Lansing connections and are in our circle of acquaintances. It was wonderful to hear them play.
I took a zillion photos. If I were to write all details about the event, I’d never finish writing. I can touch on a few photos, anyway.
It’s a pretty intense weekend. There’s a sort of anti-dress-code way of dressing, lots of tie dye and batik, lots of color. The event is a weekend full of sensory overload… colors, sounds, foods, people. Intense in all the good ways, I’d say.
The first photo above was Rachael Davis and Dominic John (Shout Sister Shout) on Saturday. These two have a lovely baby almost a year old, and are really great people to hang around with, when they have time to hang out.
There is also a full-group shot of Shout Sister Shout on Sunday, with guest guitarist Ray Kamalay (2nd to right). Ray was SO into this piece, he has been a pro musician for decades and he’s still so excited to play one more song, it’s invigorating. His favorite music overlaps the repertoire of this band, he was a perfect guest. I loved being in the audience!
Next, Detour (bluegrass). The banjo player is Kevin. Brian has known Kevin for a long time.
This is Rusty Blaides. I know Joe Wilson (also from Steppin’ in It) on pedal steel guitar center-left, and Tamineh Gueramy (also in a zillion bands… once in a fave of mine, The Weepers), center-right on fiddle. These guys really kick out the danceable tunes, I was sorry we got there (to the festival itself) just in time for their last 2 songs.
Next, some dancers just outside this small stage. Lots of dancing is part of Blissfest, and I always hope for great photos. This isn’t great but they do look like they are dancing, anyway.
This band’s name I don’t recall. at left here is Joel Mabus, and another member of the band is Ray Kamalay. These guys have been professional musicians about forever it seems… they were already old pros in Lansing before I ever hit the scene. Talented guys, who just really enjoy playing music. Together, they are unbeatable. The guy in the black shirt, center, was a guest (he’s from the band Detour, above).
A view of some camping in the wooded area on Sunday. Some folks had already packed and gone home by this time. This is a lovely area and we camped to the left of the photo.
A stick construction/gate which opens up to the artist/craft booth area. There are a number of stick gates around the festival but I’m thinking this is the grandest of them all.
A magnificent salad made just for me, with ingredients just picked that morning. This food vendor is incredible, mostly or entirely organic, and more than accommodating. I found several things to eat there over the weekend, a true miracle with the number of food restrictions I have. This salad was WONDERFUL.
Susan Fawcett of Fox on a Hill. She is a dynamo, a wonderful talent who lives in Petoskey. The instrument she’s holding has a small drum-like item at the bottom of a single string which is bowed like a fiddle. She was singing in Spanish with it, I think it’s from somewhere in Latin America but I did not catch the details. It sounded like a woodwind instrument, it was beautiful to hear. We just chanced on her demo and I’m so glad we did.
A night concert at the smaller stage, with Earthwork Music musicians (including Susan above) and the guy at front in the hat is Seth Bernard, the strong but gentle leader of the whole “clan.”
I only wish I could have bottled the energy and the music for you all. This crew is full of hot young musicians from northern lower michigan, incredible talents.
Seth and “Daisy” May Erlewine won 4th place in a national young songwriter/performer contest that Garrison Keillor had a year or two back.Just the two of them. The three bands before them were bands, not duets, I’m told.
They are that good. And their friends are equally talented and entertaining. Prime music. I was so happy to be there. The next day Brian and I both woke up singing music from this concert. Incredible.
Also notice the intent crowd members. Brian took the photos of the backstage and of the crowd.
It was SO much fun. I’d say it was worth sleeping in a tent.