Ani DiFranco, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Patty Griffin lead a one-day Saturday event with a cozy ‘BanjoFest’ at The Ark on Friday. And Hoxeyville 2023 will feature The Wood Brothers and Keller Williams.
The return of the in-person Ann Arbor Folk Festival starring the likes of Ani DiFranco, St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Patty Griffin will also feature a new twist on the traditional event for late January 2023.
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Instead of two full nights of performances at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, organizers have announced a single, jam-packed Saturday lineup of acclaimed touring artists with an intimate “BanjoFest” at The Ark to kick things off on Friday evening, Jan. 27.
The “slightly modified format” for the first non-virtual Ann Arbor Folk Festival since early 2020 prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic still unfurls “the full spectrum of ‘Ark music,’ “ according to Barb Chaffer Authier, marketing director for The Ark in Ann Arbor, which hosts the festival as its annual fundraiser.
“It is very exciting to be back to creating and presenting this festival to a live audience in person. The Folk Festival is a signature event for The Ark as well as our largest annual fundraiser and it was incredibly disappointing to have to cancel it last year,” Authier told Local Spins.
“We are so ready to be back out there this January.”
Authier said it was “much more fiscally responsible to reduce our overhead costs by holding one night in the 3,500-seat Hill Auditorium” rather than two nights as the event returns from a crippling pandemic that’s still affecting the touring music industry.
In spite of that, she called the Saturday roster “a phenomenal lineup and very much in tune with what folks expect from the Ann Arbor Folk Festival with a blend of renowned and up-and-coming performers,” including emerging acts for which The Ark has long worked to build a following in the region.
Veteran folk and singer-songwriting legends DiFranco and Griffin are considered among America’s most influential artists, and Alabama soul ensemble St. Paul & The Broken Bones has quickly risen in the ranks as an acclaimed touring act.
Other performers on Saturday: Gina Chavez, Oshima Brothers, Kyshona, Jared Deck Band, Peter Mulvey with Sista Strings (serving as emcees) and special guest Parker Millsap.
The benefactor, platinum and gold circle ticket pre-sale begins Nov. 28, with a member pre-sale Dec. 7-8 ($47.50-$70 for the Hill Auditorium show) online at theark.org/folk-festival or by calling 734-763-8587. The public on-sale begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 9.
For something new on Friday, staff members “started brainstorming ideas for alternative programming” that could take place in the 400-capacity The Ark and settled on a special Friday night of banjo-driven music starring the Grammy-nominated Valerie June and Michigan’s own Rachael Davis.
Those purchasing Benefactor, Platinum or Gold Circle Tickets for Saturday night can buy $45 general admission seats, $120 gold circle reserved seats and $250 platinum circle seats for the “Friday Night Folk: Banjofest!” starting Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 by calling 734-761-1800. The public on-sale – online and by phone – begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 16.
“We’re feeling good about people’s desire to come back to live music,” Authier said. “The Ark’s supporters have really stepped up over the last two-and-a-half years to keep the lights on and the music coming. Returning to the Ann Arbor Folk Festival will be a very special homecoming.”
HOXEYVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2023 LINEUP
The Wood Brothers, Keller Williams Grateful Grass and Circles Around the Sun will lead the charge for Hoxeyville Music Festival’s return in August 2023.
Organizers on Thursday announced that next year’s rootsy lineup will also feature familiar names such as Sierra Hull, Lindsay Lou, May Erlewine, Full Cord, Airborne or Aquatic, Arlo McKinley, Breathe Owl Breathe and Neighbor.
More acts are expected to be announced in the future. Hoxeyville takes place in Wellston amid the Manistee National Forest Aug. 18-20. Adult weekend tickets, $185, are available online here. Earlybird tickets already are sold out.
The Wood Brothers, who recently played St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, also were slated to headline the 2020 festival before the COVID pandemic shut things down. The eclectic and bluesy New York folk-rock band features bassist Chris Wood, who’s also co-founder of the much-admired jazz fusion group Medeski Martin & Wood.
Keller Williams, meanwhile, has cultivated a legion of devoted fans by crisscrossing the country with various jam-band-leaning projects, ranging from his bluegrass-propelled Grateful Grass to jazz, rock, funk, reggae and more.
Circles Around the Sun, meanwhile, is an eclectic, Los Angeles-based, rock-propelled jam band that recently released a new album, “Outer Boroughs.”
Hoxeyville last year featured performances by several of the artists booked for 2023, as well as appearances by Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band and MC5’s Wayne Kramer. View Local Spins coverage online here.
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