The return of last weekend’s Earthwork Harvest Gathering festival outside Lake City after a COVID hiatus was a Michigan-bred, music-filled celebration of love and community. Recap, photos, video.
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Seth Bernard calls Earthwork Farm a refuge from “the exhausting perils and pressures” of modern life and its Harvest Gathering a season-ending reunion filled with music, “radical compassion and preemptive respect.”
Consider all of those boxes checked — and much more.
The return of last weekend’s Earthwork Harvest Gathering outside Lake City for the first time since 2019 (due to the COVID pandemic) was a much-needed, uplifting multi-genre celebration of Michigan’s collaboration and community that boasted dozens of riveting sets on several stages.
And the upbeat vibe began even before the first note was played at Friday’s official opening.
“What other festival you gonna go to where you pull in the main gate and somebody’s chopping a bunch of wood right there,” one volunteer said of the army of volunteers and folks pitching in at Harvest Gathering, which attracted thousands of attendees and more than 80 bands.
Quipped another long-time volunteer: “I dedicated about six months of my year to workin’ on this farm for events — more than I see my mother!”
The outpouring of love and dedication to the cause helped propel Harvest Gathering 2022, along with a spirit that Bernard invoked from the stage.
“It’s about healing,” he said during his Seth Bernard & Friend set. Healing vibes certainly permeated the weekend.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FESTIVAL ON THE FARM
• Seth Bernard & Friends on The Cedar Stage – The most-packed “Earthwork Welcome” set ever, with happy attendees all singing, “My Family,” in unison.
• Earth Radio on The Cedar Stage – The Grand Rapids neo-soul band delivered a perfect set, delivered at the perfect time — right after sunset. Enhanced by saxophone, the band’s effervescent jamming could have benefited from an extra 30 minutes of set time on stage.
• The Barn Stage late Friday night with Jordan Hamilton, A. Billi Free, The Lasso, Gail and BACON – Kalamazoo hip-hop cellist Jordan Hamilton smiled the entire set, playing for a full barn with a hot lineup, and BACON closing things out in hilarious fashion. Much family love expressed, with many sitting cross-legged for the performances and everyone feeling like they were finally home again after three years.
• The new acoustic jam tent – Set up at the location of the old Farmers’ Market stage, this “venue” provided excellent late-night — make that all-night — jams, featuring guitarists, banjoists and folks singing along.
• Public Access on The Barn Stage – Just a peek at the video (below) is about all you need to know about this electric set that feature sweaty, barn-thrashing by these all-star guitarists.
• The drum kiva – With mild evening temperatures, this drew a big crowd for its rhythmic displays and jamming.
• The Accidentals, The Crane Wives and The Go Rounds on The Cedar Stage — Back to back to back on Saturday, these lively West Michigan-bred bands attracted throngs of supportive fans, many of whom likely hadn’t seen these beloved acts in quite a while.
• Sunday’s final flourish – Highlights abounded, from Airborne or Aquatic? rocking The Cedar Stage to Jordan Hamilton playing “unplugged” in the woods to late-night jamming on the Barn Stage after the “official” sets had wrapped up.
And as usual, Harvest Gathering may have set a record for collaboration, considering the number of musicians sitting in with other acts, including Bernard, Dan Rickabus, Justin Avdek, Dutcher Snedeker and many more.
PHOTO GALLERY: Earthwork Harvest Gathering 2022
Photos by Anna Sink
Video by Anna Sink
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