Guest columnist Mark Lavengood, the resonator guitar whiz for Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, waxes eloquent about the upcoming Earthwork Harvest Gathering and why it’s a world-class affair.
SCROLL DOWN FOR A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST OF FESTIVAL ARTISTS AND A VIDEO OF MARK LAVENGOOD
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Local Spins asked a longtime Earthwork Harvest Gathering attendee and musician, Mark “Huggy Bear” Lavengood, to explain for readers what makes this season-ending festival — held for 15 years on the Bernard Family farm outside Lake City — such a special event and a favorite of Michigan musicians. The bluegrass player and member of Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys jumped right in, providing a unique perspective into the beloved festival which kicks off Friday. Lavengood also will post a diary of his experiences at the 2015 festival to accompany a photo gallery documenting the weekend’s performances.
By Mark Lavengood
So many people in the Midwest have been inspired by the Earthwork Harvest Gathering largely due to its mystically vibrant community culture.
There is a peculiar “buzz” about this homegrown music festival that has grown its popularity from out of the obscure into the forefront of world-class Michigan music festivals.
Before I was a performer, I would volunteer in exchange for a weekend pass to most festivals.
This had the obvious value of the ticket price, but it also featured the perks of connecting directly with other parts of the whole organization. I met new friends and also got some free meals (kitchen shifts are the BEST)! Now, I go to festivals mostly as a performer.
With Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, I’ve traveled all across the country playing music festivals and have also toured overseas to Germany, England, Scotland, Wales and the Irelands. I’ve participated in so many fabulous music festivals, each unique and invigorating.
HARVEST GATHERING’S UNMATCHED ETHEREAL ATMOSPHERE
But there is just something absolutely ethereal about the Earthwork Harvest Gathering.
It seems everybody who has experienced Harvest has some everlasting moments or patches of memories that will forever define something sacred and special in their lives.
This year’s festival boasts more than 90 bands (most from Mother Michigan), food from over 40 local farms, free water, four stages (one of which being an old barn), workshops, handmade art from local artisans, and so much more.
Some of my favorite artists will be playing at Harvest this weekend, many of whom boast local and regional fame while others are nationally and internationally renowned. At 9:45 p.m. Friday, for example, the Stolen Sweets (all the way from Portland, Ore.) will be wowing the crowd with their vintage swing sound featuring three-part lady harmonies (think Boswell Sisters teamed up with the Andrews Sisters).
Scott Cook (who made the journey from Elberta, Canada) is one of the best singer-songwriters around. He’ll make you laugh, cry, and then be inspired to stir something up in your own life that you’ve been putting aside for a bit too long. He has a way to cut through to the matter at hand, and you can see him TWICE this weekend.
The land out at the Earthwork Farm outside Lake City is absolutely the stuff of lore. (I think Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright used to vacation there before the Bernards came along.)
The stars are never quite as crystal clear anywhere else south of the mighty Mackinaw. I include myself in the masses that hold the Earthwork Harvest Gathering as a community gathering that is not to be missed.
Every year, so many first-time festivalgoers come for the experience and stories they heard about it and leave thoroughly satiated.
Perhaps this will be your year.
Go to earthworkharvestgathering.com for more information and tickets ($100 adults, $60 teens, $50 day pass). Get the full schedule online here and check out a story and photos from last year’s Harvest Gathering at Local Spins here.
VIDEO: Mark Lavengood on Local Spins Live Radio (WJRW)
To whet festivalgoers’ appetite for the music they might hear this weekend and to sample music from artists with whom they’re unfamiliar, Local Spins has created a Spotify playlist of select performers at Earthwork Harvest Gathering. Check it out here.
LOCAL SPINS PLAYLIST: EARTHWORK HARVEST GATHERING
Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC