Starting Thursday, this weekend’s virtual, season-ending celebration will feature live-streamed sets, videos of past performances, workshops and more. Get details and schedules at Local Spins.
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Despite canceling the 20th annual Earthwork Harvest Gathering outside Lake City as an in-person celebration due to 2020’s coronavirus pandemic, organizers haven’t been idle.
Instead, they’ve toiled like hardy Michigan farmers to cultivate an online experience that aims to satiate festival-goers with virtual performances, workshops and children’s activities, dubbed “Harvest at Home.”
“Even though it’s a different animal, it’s been all-consuming,” conceded Seth Bernard, the singer and guitarist who founded the Earthwork Music collective and who hosts the season-ending event on his father Bob’s farm outside Lake City every September.
Familiar names in the Michigan music scene such as Joshua Davis, The Accidentals, Jordan Hamilton, Audra Kubat, Darcy Wilkin, Samantha Cooper, Gregory Stovetop, Rachael Davis, Dan Rickabus, Emilee Petersmark, Stepladders, Michael Beauchamp-Cohen, Brian Koenigsknecht and others are on the docket for performances and workshops throughout the weekend.
It all starts with “Throwback Thursday” that will feature “treasures from the audio archives” of past Harvest Gatherings, including Vulfpeck, Billy Strings & Don Julin and a Pat Carroll tribute from 2013, Last Gasp Collective and Dacia Bridges Project from 2018, and Lady Ace Boogie and Jes Kramer from last year’s event. The audio-only sets will stream all day at earthworkharvestgathering.com.
Harvest at Home will also feature two channels of “inspiring offerings” streaming live throughout the weekend, an “Earthwork Time Machine” of videos from full sets from past barn stage performances, “Kids’ Tent” activities, and a “Resilience Lounge” with guided meditations, yoga and wellness offerings.
The event aims to raise funds and donations to cover $28,000 in costs and “keep Earthwork Farm alive and thriving.” As an inducement, prize giveaways entice those donating $100 or more, along with a guitar auction featuring a Martin Dread Jr. guitar supplied by Elderly Instruments. (Donations or merchandise purchases can be made online here.)
EXPERIENCING ‘CULTURAL OFFERINGS’ WITHOUT CROWDS AND TRAVEL
“The biggest upside is the lack of risk for our attendees to attend a large event where people are inclined to hug each other in the midst of a global pandemic,” Bernard said of the virtual event.
“While this is obvious, it does seem that we need to be reminding ourselves and each other that this is still happening. Another big upside is the ability to experience these cultural offerings without having to deal with crowds and traveling. Folks can sleep in their own beds, in the warmth of their own homes, while having a concentrated experience of a community that they value.”
Even though the 20th anniversary event takes place online, Bernard insisted it’s still “bringing folks together, offering opportunities and tools for people to take meaningful action to protect the water and the earth and stand for justice, to be creative and self-reliant and to orient toward our responsibilities to ourselves, each other and the Earth. In turn, the community has helped our family farm thrive.”
But make no mistake: Organizers are anxious to assemble as a community in more traditional fashion come 2021.
“I sure hope so,” Bernard said. “I’m holding a vision for us all being together on the land again.
“Our farm has been shaped by Harvest Gathering. The landscape of Earthwork Farm has been designed to hold this community. That said, we don’t know what the future looks like, and we will do what we feel is most supportive of our community in the months and years to come.”
Revisit Local Spins’ coverage of Earthwork Harvest Gathering 2019: A tribe of joyful artists unfurling magical performances
HARVEST AT HOME 2020: THE SCHEDULE
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