After an impressive first day, the Woodstock-like Hoxeyville in the Manistee National Forest continued Saturday and Sunday with a top-notch regional lineup. (Story, video, photos)
UPDATED 8/18 WITH NEW PHOTOS; SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERY, ‘HOXEYVILLE IN 60 SECONDS’ VIDEO AND MORE
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Falling precisely on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock, Hoxeyville returned in impressive fashion.
Although set in the midst of Michigan’s Manistee National Forest and not on a farm in upstate New York, and festival-goers number upwards of 3,500 not a half-million, Hoxeyville certainly exuded the spirit of Woodstock, from its hippie-happy, tie-dye strewn climate to its celebration of vibrant, cutting-edge music.
And after taking 2013 off to re-evaluate things (after the 2012 event ended with a bevy of State Police traffic stops), Hoxey-ites were eager to once again embrace the homey atmosphere of this beloved Michigan music festival set in the woods near Wellston.
“It’s been two years too long,” singer-songwriter Rachael Davis proclaimed during her Friday afternoon set amid sunny skies, and most returning festival-goers and campers heartily agreed.
Indeed, the performers themselves seemed the most thrilled about being back on Hoxeyville’s stages because the opening day and night boasted scary-good, compelling sets by a roster of mostly Michigan-based acts including Davis and her band, Nicholas James & The Bandwagon, Fauxgrass, The Whistle Stop Revue, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and Luke Winslow King.
BRACING FINAL PERFORMANCES ON FIRST DAY
By timing release of the band’s brand new album, “Sisu,” on Hoxeyville’s opening day, the Michigan super-group – comprised for this occasion of Seth Bernard, Dan Rickabus, Mike Shimmin, Jake Robinson, Joe Van Acker and Glenn Brown – built much anticipation for its performance, which fired up rock guitars with a two-drummer attack that was part psychedelic rock, part Southern rock and part muscular folk-rock.
All of it drew approving smiles from fans and the band alike, as if even members of Airborne or Aquatic? weren’t quite sure what sort of wild musical beauty they would wreak on stage.
What followed was even more impressive.
After a brief intermission during which DJ Bosco pumped up dancers with EDM strains in the side tent operated by The Stage Couch TV, festival headliner and “house band” Greensky Bluegrass delivered what can only be described as a sparklingly triumphant, turbo-charged performance that further cemented the Kalamazoo band’s stature as one of the nation’s pre-eminent bluegrass/jam bands.
The late-night, 1-hour-and-45-minute set perfectly exhibited this band’s incredible dynamic range, from trad-based bluegrass virtuosity to out-and-out rock fire, even trotting out a stunning cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time” from “Dark Side of the Moon,” which naturally inspired a sing-along by young and old. Davis even joined the band for a couple of songs during the entertaining spectacle, which was cloaked in stage fog amid a masterful light show.
Some of that musical magic lasted deep into the evening, with members of Greensky Bluegrass even staging an impromptu jam session for a small group of fans deep in the woods until the wee hours.
And lucky for Hoxey-ites, Greensky Bluegrass did it all again on the main stage on Saturday night, right after New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Shoot, that one-two punch alone was probably more than worth the price of any day passes or even weekend tickets.
And the fun continued into Sunday with performances by Billy Strings & Don Julin, Steppin’ In It, The Accidentals, Roosevelt Diggs, Big Dudee Roo, Fauxgrass, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers and more.
HOXEYVILLE (AUG. 15-17): THE LOCAL SPINS PHOTO GALLERY
Photos by Anna Sink, John Sinkevics and Peter Zadvinskis
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Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.
Copyright 2014, Spins on Music