The 2023 edition of Dunesville unfurled outside Interlochen last weekend with a bevy of impressive regional acts and late-night drum kivas. The Local Spins recap and photo gallery.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Local Spins photographer and writer Chelsea Whitaker journeyed to Interlochen in northern Michigan last weekend to attend this year’s Dunesville Music Festival. This is her report, with her photo gallery below.
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Arriving at Dunesville on Friday evening, we pulled into a dirt drive, received credentials and suddenly were transported into a field of campers and tie-dye.
The sounds of a drum circle echoed in the distance as kids scampered about while a band prepared to play on the Harmony Stage. We settled into our camping spot and began to explore.
One of the first sets featured Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Adam Labeaux, and about halfway through the set, a child ran past yelling, “Take your shoes off and dance like a fool.” This moment made everyone within earshot smile, and I definitely saw some shoes come off shortly after.
Muskegon’s funk/rock/soul outfit Flexadecibel had everyone on their feet, dancing without a care. The energy under the tent at the Shaker Stage was unmatched.
Nashville “psychedelic punk-grass rockers” Sicard Hollow brought funky bass to bluegrass, showcasing a unique sound.
As Detroit funk-fusion band Act Casual took to the Shaker Stage, I decided it was time to retire to my campsite. The sounds of live music and cheers in the background marked the perfect way to fall asleep.
Saturday began with Grand Rapids folk singer Ben Traverse sharing some shanties and bluegrass to wake us all up.
Immediately after his set, I popped over to the shade tent to listen in on the “Make Music with Stormy Chromer” workshop. During their set on Friday, a mishap led to a temporary loss of power on their stage: The ice cream truck had arrived and blown a fuse. Stormy Chromer continued to play. When discussing their ability to continue playing without power, someone in attendance commented that they were “melting faces and popsicles.”
Later in the day, a Gong Fu Tea Service was offered — a way of preparing tea in a highly skilled manner. With more people interested in this service than expected, many of us shared tiny cups to taste all the flavors the tea had to offer.
In the evening, Southeast Michigan roots music trio Stella! took to the Harmony Stage, appropriately bringing beautiful harmonies paired with picking banjo and acoustic guitar. There were a great deal of children playing and running around in the sand just in front of the stage. Singer Jo Serrapere called it “Fischer Price: My First Mosh Pit.”
And for the final workshop of the day, I sat in on the Cacao Ceremony. We all sat in a circle, passing cups of hot cocoa to the next person. With each cup we would pause and set our intention before passing it along.
Grand Rapids’ Ficus, Kalamazoo’s The Go Rounds and Ann Arbor’s Chirp closed out the night with high energy and excitement. While many adjourned to their campsites for some respite, others headed down the hill, into the woods, to the Drum Kiva. The jam began small, around 10:30 p.m., but by the dead of night, dozens of festivalgoers surrounded the fire, beating on drums and dancing.
By the time Sunday rolled around, we were exhausted and ready to make the two-and-a-half hour drive home to Grand Rapids. We stuck around long enough to catch Petoskey bluegrass band Steel & Wood before hitting the road.
The perfect end to a fun-filled weekend.
PHOTO GALLERY: Dunesville Music Festival 2023
Photos by Chelsea Whitaker