Michigan acts ranging from Joe Hertler to Galactic Sherpas will join national stars Amy Helm, Canned Heat and Sam Bush at the 39th edition of “Bliss” this weekend. Get details, schedule at Local Spins.
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The funk, fusion and jam-band ensemble has played the festival north of Harbor Springs seven times and will return to Blissfest, aka “Bliss,” this weekend.
“Bliss has always been a highlight if you’re from northern Michigan. Many of us have been going since we were kids, so it’s a pretty special thing to be up there on stage,” said keyboard player, guitarist and singer Josh Hall.
“This year will be the eighth Bliss for us and is the highlight of every summer. The energy at a Bliss Sherpa show is unmatched and we really have no words for it except, ‘Thank you,’ and that we feel the love.”
Thousands of music lovers have been “feeling the love” of Blissfest for decades, with the 39th annual edition of the folk and roots music celebration taking place Friday through Sunday (July 12-14) on the festival site at 3695 Division Road near Cross Village.
Another example of Bliss love? Blissfest topped all other Michigan music festivals in the 2019 Local Spins readers’ poll of Top 10 favorite festivals. As attendee and Grand Rapids musician Brian Haik put it, Blissfest is well-organized, in a great location just a short drive to a stellar beach, is family-friendly and boasts a “great mixture of local and national bands” to boot.
FROM MARTIN SEXTON AND CANNED HEAT TO REGIONAL FAVORITES
Headlined this year by renowned national artists Amy Helm, Canned Heat, Sam Bush, Steve Poltz and Martin Sexton, the Blissfest Music Organization boasts that its event showcases numerous musical styles, including bluegrass, blues, Zydeco, folk, jazz, Celtic, Latin and world music as well as dance on several stages.
Michigan artists are well represented every year at Blissfest and 2019 is no exception with Galactic Sherpas, May Erlewine, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Last Gasp Collective, Jen Sygit, An Dro, Max Lockwood, Political Lizard, Biomassive, Chris Michels Band, Seth Bernard and more performing over the weekend.
The festival also features drum circles, songwriter sessions, a Woodstock tribute, a Tom Petty tribute and much more. Get the full schedule and wristband details online at blissfestfestival.org. Wristbands cost $185 for the weekend for adults; $60 for teens and children.
For the Galactic Sherpas, the trek to Bliss is just another stop on a musical journey that began in Boyne City in 2009.
The band began as a foursome featuring Hall, Erik VanHorn, Greg Mastin and Dan Brooks, but has featured more than 20 other members over the years, not counting special guests.
The current lineup features Mastin on guitar, Hall on keyboards, theremin and vocals, Brooks on bass and vocals, Tim Hawthorn on percussion, Jamison Cronk on trombone, Chris Burgess on drums, Casimir Toton on trumpet, Traven Michaels on saxophone and MC/DJ Tito Caballero.
As for the music, the Galactic Sherpas have been “interested in many musical genres since we hammered out that first chord on stage,” including jam band music, space rock, jazz, Afrobeat, funk, ska, old reggae and new reggae, something featured on five full-length albums.
In addition to Blissfest, the band for the second year in a row will play the Cowpie Music Festival in Caledonia south of Grand Rapids on Aug. 10.
Check out Local Spins photos and coverage of Blissfest 2018: Blissfest 2018 Revisited: ‘Magic time,’ high-spirited musical revelry, late-night jams
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