It’s back for 2021 in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest this weekend with national headliners and regional favorites, including a bluegrass singer who adores Hoxey and all it entails. View the schedule, too.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS AND SCHEDULE
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Hoxeyville Music Festival returns this week in full force after calling things off in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The longstanding, popular festival, located in Wellston — about an hour and 45 minutes north of Grand Rapids — will feature Billy Strings, Yonder Mountain String Band, Sam Bush, Allman Betts Band, The Sweet Water Warblers, The Go Rounds and more, with performances running Friday through Sunday.
Adult weekend passes are $225, with day passes ranging from $80-$100, available online here.
Songwriter and roots/bluegrass star Lindsay Lou, who has Michigan roots but resides in Nashville, will perform multiple times throughout the weekend, including a 3:30 p.m. Lindsay Lou set on Saturday and a 2 p.m. set with the Sweet Water Warblers super-group on Sunday at the festival that attracts about 3,000 people.
Sitting on an expansive front porch on a recent sunny afternoon, she twirls her hair and reflects on her ties to the festival and upcoming performances via a virtual interview.
“I definitely notice a deeper appreciation for Michigan. Now that I’ve been living in the Southland here for long enough, when I go back, it does just feel like home. Like no matter where I am in the state, it just feels like home. I spent enough time touring around Michigan before we really started touring outside the state that it holds this home space,” Lindsay Lou says.
“I’m very excited to get back on the stage with the Warblers. We’re going to play some songs from the records that we just released. It’s really fun. I love that festival (Hoxeyville).”
The Sweet Water Warblers — Lindsay Lou, May Erlewine and Rachael Davis (with guest Maya de Vitry) — released their first full-length album, “The Dream that Holds this Child,” last year.
Growing up in the Upper Peninsula’s Iron Mountain near the Wisconsin border, Lindsay Lou fostered a love of the outdoors and Michigan’s natural beauty. She then spent time in Lansing, Ann Arbor and Ionia before relocating to Nashville to pursue music.
“We had a lot of outdoor time. House parties were always at people’s hunting camps. It was quiet. But it was nice. I felt kind of sheltered maybe,” she says oft growing up in the Upper Peninsula.
The singer and musician has maintained a friendship with Billy Strings throughout the years, performing and collaborating with the Grammy Award-winning guitarist and Michigan native whenever possible.
It’s not unlikely that fans may see her join Billy Strings at Hoxeyville on stage again this weekend. (Billy Strings plays headlining sets at 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday).
The pair also wrote a song together that will appear on Billy Strings’ next record, “Renewal,” which drops on Sept. 24. In addition to collaborating with Strings, Lou is busy working on her next record, a follow-up to 2018’s “Southland,” which she hopes to release next year.
Following Hoxeyville, Lindsay Lou will perform a cluster of shows out West, including a pair of house shows in California and a concert in Utah. She returns to Michigan to perform with the Sweet Water Warblers at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo on Sept. 3 (opening for Steppin’ In It).
Lindsay Lou isn’t alone in her excitement about possibly sharing a Hoxeyville stage with the fast-rising Billy Strings, who’s sold out virtually all of the concerts on his national tour.
Mandolinist Brian Oberlin of West Michigan bluegrass band Full Cord is particularly excited about rubbing elbows with the Ionia County native who’s soared to fame the past two years, scored a No. 1 album and recently made his Austin City Limits debut.
“Billy is a champion of bluegrass and bluegrass-ish music, which is the same genre-bending theater we are in,” he said. “So, when he succeeds, we all succeed. If time permits, we’ll likely pick some tunes with him as well.”
Full Cord actually will do double-duty this weekend, swinging back and forth between two events: The band plays Farmfest in Johannesburg at midnight Friday and 7:20 p.m. Sunday, and Hoxeyville at 2:15 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. Saturday.
VIDEO: Billy Strings, Live from Westville Music Bowl (8/7/21)
VIDEO: Lindsay Lou, Live from the Sweet Treat (2/12/21)
VIDEO: The Sweet Water Warblers, “Something More”
VIDEO: Yonder Mountain String (with special guests), Live at Telluride Bluegrass Festival
VIDEO: The Allman Betts Band, “Midnight Rider”
Copyright 2021, Spins on Music LLC