The Accidentals, The Crane Wives, Joseph & more electrified 700-plus attendees at Sunday’s inaugural event. The recap, photos & video, along with images from the weekend’s Holler Fest in Jackson County.
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A simple phrase said so much on a heavenly day for a live music debut in the great outdoors.
“This is beautiful,” blues-propelled Austin singer Ruthie Foster gushed from the stage during Sunday’s inaugural Fair Ground Festival at Hastings’ Barry County Expo Center, with temps in the 70s and sunshine beaming down on the 700-plus attendees.
Six female-led acts — Joseph, The Accidentals, The Crane Wives, Ruthie Foster and her band, Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps and Kyshona — delivered upbeat sets on the stage set up amid the sprawling grounds of the Expo Center, with a video screen backdrop enhancing the day-long production.
Highlights were many, from Foster’s soulful, gospel-inflected set to The Crane Wives’ fan-rousing romp of electrified folk-rock glory to The Accidentals’ Sav Buist and Katie Larson scampering through the crowd while drummer Katelynn Corll and guest guitarist/bassist Patty PerShayla kept the musical party rolling.
“It’s so good to play new music for you,” declared Emilee Petersmark of The Crane Wives, who earlier in the weekend sold out the final show on the band’s much-anticipated, upcoming East Coast tour.
Megan Lavell, executive director of the Thornapple Arts Council, Amber Buist of The Accidentals team, and Randall Erno of the production crew all beamed about Sunday’s turnout, the ideal weather conditions and the overall presentation under a vast, clear sky (even if a few sets ran a tad behind schedule).
Concertgoer Brenda Hart, of Rockford, said she was all about the “beautiful property,” while complimenting the “quainter” sensibilities of Sunday’s event compared to other festivals.
“It’s nice to be surrounded by live music again,” said Gatesville, Ohio’s Abigail Lee, attending her first music festival since the COVID pandemic. A fan of The Crane Wives, she also found herself “really enjoying” the energy of Patty PerShayla & The Mayhaps.
And while the well-run affair was a first for Barry County, it’s likely not the last.
“See you next year,” Sav Buist of The Accidentals yelled to cheers from the crowd just before she left the stage.
PHOTO GALLERY: Fair Ground Festival at Barry County Expo Center
Photos by Derek Ketchum
HOLLER FEST 2023
While the Fair Ground Festival made its debut in Barry County this weekend, another long-running favorite of regional music fans — Holler Fest in Jackson County’s Irish Hills — rolled out more than 80 Michigan bands and solo acts over three days, from the blues/rock/rockabilly of Grand Rapids’ Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish to the folk strains of Ann Arbor’s PATH.
The family-friendly affair on Frog Holler Farm also boasted workshops, children’s activities and home-grown food. Check out the photo gallery from Julia Olmos below.
PHOTO GALLERY: Holler Fest 2023 at Frog Holler Farm
Photos by Julia Olmos