The Accidentals, Hannah Rose Graves, The Ragbirds and more delivered a 20th anniversary edition of the festival that attracted new fans as well as returnees. Recap, highlights and photos at Local Spins.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes, the island beckons in serendipitous ways. When Local Spins began making arrangements to cover the Beaver Island Music Festival, all manner of conflicts prevented us from making the usual staff assignments for this far-flung event in northern Lake Michigan. But karma provided a solution: Not only did regular Local Spins contributor Dutcher Snedeker step up (his band Earth Radio performed for the first time there), but longtime arts journalist and recent Local Spins writer Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, who has a cottage on the island, contacted us out of the blue to say he’d be there, too. Here are their takes on BIMF 2022.
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NO ‘TAPERING OFF’ FOR BIMF 2022 (By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk)
Fans in tie-dye shirts and sandals pressed against the stage. Nearby a big campfire crackled in the middle of the audience, though the occasional scent of marijuana sometimes wafted through the wood smoke.
When The Accidentals kicked off the opening bars of “Michigan And Again” on Saturday, a cheer swept across the audience at the Beaver Island Music Festival for the much-loved song by the group from Traverse City.
“I’m having the best time of my summer. Right here, right now!” gushed Accidentals singer/guitarist/cellist Katie Larson after the final note.
So were several hundred music lovers on Saturday for the final day of the three-day festival of music.
The 20th anniversary of the Beaver Island Music Festival drew such acts as Aqua Cherry and The Ragbirds to the event nestled in the woods in a remote corner of Beaver Island, a 36-square mile island in Lake Michigan, 32 miles from Charlevoix.
It takes some effort to get there. But it’s worth it.
Now a fixture of Island life, acts such as Lynn & the Moonshine Runners and Eric Nassau performed afternoons in town at such island fixtures as the historic Beaver Island Print Shop and Museum and the Shamrock Bar. Others performed live on WVBI-FM, the island’s only radio station.
Evenings were spent at the festival grounds, an out-of-the-way, off-the-grid hideaway where a Bohemian vibe permeates at the rustic festival that opened July 14.
A tent-village ringed the grounds off the aptly named Hideaway Trail Road. Kids had their own extensive play area. Dogs and dog lovers were welcome.
Last year, BIMF drew record crowds of music lovers hungry for live entertainment following the Covid shutdown in 2020.
This year’s festival appears just as successful, said BIMF Executive Director Carol Burton.
“It hasn’t tapered off this year,” Burton said. “Eighty-three percent of our ticket buyers were first-time buyers.”
The Accidentals, who launched more than 10 years ago, were back at the Beaver Island Music Festival for the first time in years.
“It’s great to be back on Beaver Island,” Larson told the audience. “It’s been nine years. Way too long!”
BEAVER ISLAND MUSIC FEST 2022: TOP THREE HIGHLIGHTS (By Dutcher Snedeker)
This past weekend, I was able to join my bandmates in Earth Radio for our first trip to the Beaver Island Music Festival for two days of performances. We all spent time hanging out during the day enjoying the island and after our sets we’d hang out back stage to meet new folks and great our friends. Our Friday set garnered some new fans and our Saturday set landed on a powerful note with Hannah screaming feminine rage on “You Don’t Know.” Aside from my time with the band, here are my favorite moments from this year’s festival:
1. Seeing my friends perform – As much as I love and live for performing on stage with different artists, I relish the times I am able to see my friends share their artistic talents. Whether it was Loren Kranz throwing down with The Ragbirds, The Accidentals returning after nearly 10 years to the festival in true style with the addition of Patty PerShayla in the group, Lynn Thompson’s music juxtaposed next our sets both days, or witnessing a coming together of various festival artists to support Hannah Rose on stage when she filled in last minute for two different bands, it was wonderful to be in the audience for a change and simply enjoy Michigan music.
2. Beaver Island – When I was a kid, I used to vacation on the island with my family, and over the course of three or four summers, my parents and grandparents would rent a cottage and give us an opportunity to enjoy time away from our usual schedules. It was nostalgic taking the ferry to the island, seeing the town by the dock, and even visiting the same toy store that I used to buy marbles and candy from when my siblings and I wanted to have some fun when we weren’t in the water. Now that both grandparents who frequented these trips have passed, it was a wonderful time reflecting on these moments and sharing stories with folks as I was actively building new memories as an adult 20 years later.
3. The People – From the enthusiastic crowd to the supportive local crew shuttling and assisting dozens of artists and vacationers, Beaver Island is filled with kind folks who love and care for this special place. There were plenty of moments where artists were picked up by locals and driven to the festival grounds when shuttles were operating at capacity, and the sound team and backstage crew folks were so helpful. It was also so fun getting to make new friends in bands like Aqua Cherry, Shake Steady, Good Morning Bedlam and The Burney Sisters.
• Andy Szumowski, normally on drums or pedal steel, leading Americana songs on guitar and vocals during Hannah Rose’s festival jamstravaganza;
• Back-stage dancing, snacks and laughter with so many artists;
• Dozens of prestigious pups of all kinds, from show-ready Chow Chow’s to floppy weeks-old pups falling asleep in shuttle driver laps;
• Breakfast at Dalwhinny, where the food was so tasty and the dry humor of the cashier made Earth Radio’s morning;
• Revisiting the toy museum that I used to frequent during summer vacation as a kid
• The beach hangs meeting new folks from the festival.
PHOTO GALLERY: Beaver Island Music Festival 2022
Photos by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, Dutcher Snedeker, The Accidentals, Lorain Smalligan, Rich Emerson