The August festival in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest boasts national zing, plus regional stars Steppin’ In It, Luke Winslow King, Lindsay Lou, The Crane Wives and more. Get details at Local Spins.
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While Greensky Bluegrass is notably absent from this year’s Hoxeyville festival lineup — opting instead to headline its own event on the Hoxey grounds in late spring — there will be no shortage of top-tier regional and national acts making their way to Wellston the weekend of Aug. 17-19.
And for those keeping track at home, the lineup also includes at least three-fifths of Kalamazoo progressive bluegrass band that has become synonymous with the northern Michigan festival over the years: Greensky Bluegrass’ Paul Hoffman and Dave Bruzza will perform as part of the One Night Stand Band, with banjo-picking Michael Arlen Bont gracing festival stages as an artist at large.
“Having been such a core Greensky thing the last four or five years, where it has been built around Greensky, there has been this kind of symbiotic relationship where some people have looked at it as it maybe has been their festival,” said Jake Robinson, CEO and founder of Hoxeyville Productions, which is also presenting Camp Greensky May 31-June 2 this year.
“We’ve certainly done this hand in hand together but doing something in a fashion like this, being able to include Paul and Dave in the One Night Stand Band and get Mike Bont as the artist at large, while trying to mix in all this fresh stuff like Dawes and the Stringdusters, it’s kind of a different twist. I’ve wanted to have the Stringdusters here for quite a while and Billy (Strings) working his way up the bill the past couple years has had a real positive and big impact for us.”
The festival will also feature return appearances from Larry Keel, Cadillac’s own Luke Winslow King, The Jon Stickley Trio, Airborne or Aquatic, Lindsay Lou, The Sweet Water Warblers and The Crane Wives. Another returnee will be the Joshua Davis-fronted Steppin’ In It, which has recently gotten back together to play a series of 20th anniversary gigs this spring and summer.
“It’s great to have Lindsay Lou and the Sweet Water Warblers back,” Robinson said. “We try to get as much female power in there as we can, and we have some fresh acts in there too like Rich and Rosie, and of course, we’ve got The Crane Wives back.”
TWO SELF-SUSTAINING FESTIVALS IN THE MANISTEE NATIONAL FOREST
While Camp Greensky will feature a sort of new-look Hoxeyville grounds with a large mobile stage brought in and the Timber Stage — which serves as Hoxey’s main stage — being the secondary stage, Robinson said Hoxeyville 2018 will look familiar to those who have been attending the festival over the first 15 years: The Timber Stage will once again serve as the main stage, and the smaller Mitten Stage will highlight more localized and regional talent.
“We wanted to be able to create this sort of brand separation between the two festivals,” he said. “We aren’t able to include nearly as many of the local and regional acts as we do on the Hoxeyville bill at Camp Greensky, but obviously, we don’t want to take anything away from Hoxeyville either, as the icing on the cake is really those six or seven bands on the top.”
The festival, as always, will be family-friendly and feature plenty of local vending and late-night picks in the woods. The woods are also being thinned out some to create “more elbow room” and more comfortable shaded camping sites, Robinson said.
“For me this all started as sort of a music party in the woods with my friends,” he added. “The first Hoxeyville was on my porch here at Hoxeyville where we live and where Greensky recorded their first three albums.
“As it has grown, and we’ve all gotten older and settled into our careers, it’s become sort of this big end of summer reunion. Now with Camp Greensky in June, we get to have a big kick off and the gather the tribe back together for a sort of end of summer rally. … There’s a lot of really great fans and people who come to support this event though and that’s really where the magic is.”
Three-day passes with camping cost $145 for adults 18 and older. Children 4 and younger are admitted free; those 5-12, $40; teenagers, $60. If the festival is not sold out, two-day and one-day passes will be available in mid-June when the daily schedule is announced. Tickets and more ticket information can be found here.
VIDEOS OF FEATURED FESTIVAL ACTS
Dawes, “When My Time Comes”
The Infamous Stringdusters, “Night on the River”
Leftover Salmon, “High Country”
Billy Strings, Live at Otus Supply
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