More than 2,500 attendees reveled Friday in dozens of performances by Michigan stars on opening day of this weekend festival on Earthwork Farm. (Video, photos)
Bob Bernard could never have envisioned the sort of heartwarming spectacle that his son, Seth, would organize on his farm outside Lake City every September – a season-ending celebration of regional music that draws thousands of congenial musicians and their fans for a weekend of inspiring sets and unparalleled camaraderie.
But he’s surely impressed and touched by the Earthwork Harvest Gathering, especially because this year’s assemblage of Michigan music lovers – more than 2,500 of them – got off to a rousing, sun-splashed start on Friday, with more than three dozen performances on four stages on opening day and much more to come, all assembled by an army of volunteers.
Seth himself held court in the middle of it all for his traditional Friday night set, bringing pioneering Detroit guitarist Billy Davis on stage as a special guest to join his all-star band for a spirited, crowd-involving, set-ending rendition of “Turkeys in the Rain.”
“This is such an amazing thing for me every year,” Bernard told the gleeful throng convened at the “home place” where he grew up. “I want you to enjoy your weekend to the max. … I’m a huge fan of every band here.”
Of course, he also stressed the importance of protecting Michigan’s ecosystem and improving its social systems, too.
“Michigan is a very special place for the 21st Century,” he insisted. “Let’s help keep the place resilient. … My hope is that this celebration can be an inspiration.”
Earthwork Farm is certainly a very special, inspiring place, especially amid the upbeat, community-building vibe of Harvest Gathering with its wildly eclectic blend of music – which on Friday ranged from the funky rock and folk of Traverse City’s TurboPup to the rhymes of the Detroit HipHop Showcase to the swing of Jive at Five to the rousing indie-rock of Gregory Stovetop and much more, including an epic (aren’t all of their shows epic?) set by Kalamazoo’s The Go Rounds.
For many attending the 17th edition of this incredible musical production on a 181-acre Missaukee County farm, it’s a tradition and a conclave they won’t ever miss.
As Nicholas James Thomasma, of Grand Rapids’ Nicholas James & The Bandwagon, put it: “It feels good to be home.”
Check out some opening day photos and video snippets below, with more coverage of one of summer 2017’s festival highlights still to come at Local Spins. Read more about this year’s gathering online here.
VIDEO: Earthwork Harvest Gathering 2017: Day 1
PHOTO GALLERY: Harvest Gathering Day 1
Photos by Anna Sink and John Sinkevics
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