Opening day at Circle Pines Center spotlighted the regional charm of Radio Free Honduras, Madcat Midnight Blues Journey, Zion Lion, The Change and more. The fun continues Saturday and Sunday.
INTERVIEWS WITH SATURDAY HEADLINERS DONNA THE BUFFALO, LUKE WINSLOW KING: Donna the Buffalo, Luke Winslow King set to electrify Buttermilk Jamboree with upbeat vibe
SATURDAY’S FESTIVAL WEATHER FORECAST: Thunderstorms early, partly cloudy in afternoon and turning sunny, high of 90 degrees
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At a location known for its rich history, the eighth annual Buttermilk Jamboree has quickly cultivated a loyal bunch of returning devotees.
On Friday, it prompted Madcat Midnight Blues Journey bassist Mark “Papa” Schrock to describe the festival at Circle Pines Center south of Grand Rapids as “intimate yet sorta spread out. There’s something about this place that is so special. It’s one of my favorites in Michigan.”
The veteran Michigan band — Schrock, Peter “Madcat” Ruth on harmonica, guitar and vocals, Drew “Captain Midnight” Howard on guitar and Michael “Kid” Shimmin on drums — played the main Orchard Stage early Friday evening.
And having returned to the scenic, family-friendly event a handful of times, Ruth was confident in his appraisal of the festival: “The quality and diversity of the music is always really high.”
Circle Pines Center in Delton is celebrating 80 years of existence. While the camp has changed names numerous times over the years, the goal has remained the same: to keep folk traditions alive and to encourage cooperation between different cultures, ages and statuses.
“Due to the Folk School program growth, there are more diverse workshops happening this weekend,” said Deborah Eid, a volunteer associated with Circle Pines Center. She started volunteering at the center teaching Spanish but eventually ended up playing at the festival a few times with her family band. Her 22-year-old son used to participate in summer camps here and is now a camp counselor.
“It’s very family friendly and intimate in too many ways to count,” Eid said of Buttermilk Jamboree. When it comes to performers, Eid is excited to see An Dro and the Dacia Bridges Project tearing up the Beer Tent Stage on Saturday while testing out offerings from the Crepes by the Lake food truck. (Author’s Note: The breakfast crepe with bacon, egg and cheese at Crepes by the Lake ranks a solid 10 out of 10.) See schedule at right.
For attendee Hailey Pratt, the event is also about family — more specifically, assisting her grandma with selling paintings and doing face painting for kids. “My family and I like the music and they have come here many times, but this is my first time here. I’ve liked all the bands I have heard today, but I’m really excited for the Poet Tree event (Saturday),” she said.
Two Friday performers in particular sparked an eruption of dancing: Kalamazoo band Zion Lion’s reggae performance at the Sugar Bush Stage and Chicago’s Radio Free Honduras’ fiery Latin rhythms on the Orchard Stage. Both bands had people of every age on their feet and moving to the beat.
PHOTO GALLERY: Buttermilk Jamboree (6/15/18)
Photos by Veronica Leigh Anderson
Copyright 2018, Spins on Music LLC