Los Lobos, Michael Franti, Donna the Buffalo and a passel of regional stars will light up this sold-out northern Michigan music festival this weekend. Check out the lineup for the July 7-9 festival.
A cornerstone among summer festivals in Michigan, Blissfest is treated like a holiday by an eclectic community of fans who return year after year.
Back for its 37th year this weekend, the Northern Michigan continues to raise the bar for itself and festivals like it with a stacked lineup of national acts including Los Lobos, Michael Franti, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Donna the Buffalo.
Blissfest also has become a breeding ground for local talent. This year’s sold-out festival will feature performances by a host Michigan-based artists such as May Erlewine, Galactic Sherpas, Lake Effect, Olivia Mainville & the Aquatic Troupe and Seth Bernard.
Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Landry, aka E Minor, is a regular performer at Blissfest, which she describes as “magical.” Having grown up nearby in Cheboygan, Landry has attended the festival since she was a child.
“It is so fulfilling to play a festival I grew up going to, and it’s kind of a reunion between my friends and I that grew up in the area,” Landry said. “So for me, it’s quite nostalgic.”
What began in 1981 as a small, grassroots music festival with a few hundred attendees has grown to host about 50 acts a year on three stages with several thousand festival goers. And this year, all festival wristbands are sold out, including Saturday and Sunday day passes.
These days, fans of all ages travel from across Michigan and beyond to experience Blissfest. Many camp for the weekend on the festival grounds in Harbor Springs to enjoy impromptu jams, large dances and workshops.
In true holiday spirit, an exchange of the phrase “Happy Bliss” from one artist or attendee to another has become commonplace.
“It’s an incredibly strong community,” said Jeremy Reisig, aka Brotha James. “People take care of each other there and you can feel it. There’s an intention that’s great to be a part of and inspired by.”
Reisig and his brother, Sean, have performed at several other Blissfests in the band Funktion. The brothers will return to Blissfest this year to perform Jeremy Reisig’s intricately live-looped Brotha James music and host a kids’ workshop focused on empowering creativity.
He lovingly refers to the festival as a “road map for other Michigan festivals,” which continue to grow in popularity for their diverse lineups, workshops, camping accommodations and jam sessions, which often stretch deep into the night.
Blissfest begins Friday and continues through Sunday evening. Weekend and single-day passes are completely sold out. For more information on the festival and the complete lineup, including “Blissfest regulars” and kids and family entertainment, visit blissfest.org.
Check out Local Spins coverage of Blissfest 2016, with photos and more: Blissfest 2016 Revisited – Inspiring, energizing, collaborative and ‘nothing short of extraordinary’
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